Jeep to expand global lineup, production
Plans call for 3-row SUV called Grand Wagoneer
DETROIT -- Jeep plans to expand its lineup and broaden its global reach as it becomes the worldwide foundation of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
Chrysler Group’s most valuable brand will push to 1.9 million annual sales by the end of 2018 under the ambitious five-year global business plan revealed to analysts and journalists today in suburban Detroit.
To double its annual sales, Jeep plans to expand its product lineup, adding a bigger three-row SUV called the Grand Wagoneer and smaller SUVs and crossovers, including the subcompact Jeep Renegade due in U.S. showrooms in early 2015.
“Jeep spirit is something that we believe lives inside everybody,” said Mike Manley, head of the Jeep brand. “Our job is to reach inside and pull that spirit to the surface.”
Jeep plans to re-engineer the 2018 Wrangler SUV, cutting its weight and improving its aerodynamic and powertrain efficiency. Manley promised that the Wrangler will retain its off-road prowess despite the changes. The 2018 Grand Cherokee, Jeep’s flagship SUV, will receive another freshening.
Much of Jeep’s growth is expected to come outside North America.
The brand plans to vastly expand its sales in China with the addition of a recently completed local manufacturing agreement with Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., with whom it will build versions of the Cherokee mid-sized SUV and the Renegade for the Chinese market. Later, it plans to add a localized version of the replacement for the Compass and Patriot compact SUVs, which is under development and will ride on a stretched version of the platform that underpins the Renegade.
Jeep also plans to expand sales significantly in Latin America, mainly in Brazil where it now has only a small footprint. The automaker plans to build a version of the Renegade and the Compass replacement in a plant being built there, Manley said.
To reach its goals, Jeep plans to expand production capacity around the world, including in North America, where it plans to increase annual production capacity to about 1 million units from about 800,000 today. It plans to build about 500,000 Jeeps in Asia, 200,000 in Europe and 200,000 in Latin America by the end of 2018.
Manley said: “We will unlock the potential of some of the world’s largest markets by localizing” production.
You can reach Larry P. Vellequette at email@example.com.