"Our plans for Europe are ambitious but doable. Europe for Jeep is an incredibly important market. We have been here for 30 years and half of our international sales historically were in Europe," Jeep CEO Mike Manley told Autonews Europe.
He added that in order to fulfill the ambitious plan, Jeep will roll out new products, including the company's first small SUV, and will expand its European network from 430 to 650 dealers by 2014. New Jeep models will include three fuel-efficient SUVs that will help increase sales in countries that have emission-based car taxes.
The small SUV is a Fiat-based vehicle code-named B-SUV that will be built in Toluca, Mexico starting in late 2013 or early 2014 and will be sold in Europe, North America and Latin America.
The second new model is a replacement for the Cherokee SUV (called the Liberty in the U.S.) that will begin production in the U.S. by early 2013 and will be launched in Europe by spring 2013. Codenamed D-SUV, the Cherokee’s replacement will be offered with AWD as standard while powertrain options will include a MultiAir version of Fiat's 2.0-liter, four-cylinder petrol engine producing 170 horsepower.
Finally, the third new model is a compact SUV that will replace the Compass/Patriot models. Scheduled to debut in Europe by mid-2013, the car will be built at Fiat's Mirafiori plant in Italy. Codenamed C-SUV, the vehicle will be sold globally and will share components with the Alfa Romeo C-SUV that will also be built in Mirafiori by the end of 2012. The C-SUV will be offered with AWD and FWD.
By Dan Mihalascu