As part of FCA's new five-year plan.
Jeep’s been toying with the idea of creating a model to slot in below the Renegade for some time now. Allegedly, as part of the FCA’s next five-year plan unveiling on June 1, Jeep could announce its smallest model to date. “A smaller car than the Renegade is very interesting to us and we are actively looking at the project now,” Jeep CEO Mike Manley told Autocar. “We’ve seen the general move in Europe towards smaller SUVs, and there could also be a market in Latin America,” he added.
Based on FCA’s existing platform sharing strategy, it’s possible the small Jeep could share its platform with a twinned Fiat model, much like the Renegade and Fiat 500X. The leading candidate is the next-generation Panda Cross, leaving Jeep to develop its own body and interior while utilizing a shared running gear. The Panda is currently produced at Fiat's Pomigliano d'Arco plant. If the project does get greenlit, the little Jeep would become the cheapest model on sale for the ever popular brand. Jeep has profited heavily from current market trends favoring compact SUVs.
However, it’s unlikely the project ever makes it to China, where demand for smaller SUVs is focused on domestic brands that offer better value for money compared to more upscale import brands like Jeep. Given prior reports, the US might be out of the question, too. However, given the arrival of Ford’s EcoSport, there could be an opportunity there as the two have traditionally competed for the attention of European shoppers. Other news expected on June 1 includes the next moves for Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, and Maserati, along with FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne potentially announcing the name of his successor, as he’s expected to retire at the end of 2018.