DETROIT -- Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has set an ambitious global sales goal for Jeep in 2014 of 1 million vehicles -- a 37 percent increase from last year.
But Jeep should meet that goal with a full year of production of the Cherokee mid-sized SUV, a new small Jeep scheduled to arrive this year and higher sales of two aging vehicles, the Compass and Patriot.
The brand's two best-selling vehicles, the Grand Cherokee and Wrangler, are limited by their assembly plants. Chrysler was able to boost production of both large SUVs in 2013 by more than 10 percent, but further gains are likely to be incremental, Jeep brand head Mike Manley said.
"If you get five extra Wranglers a day, it's huge," Manley told Automotive News about the production constraints. "I've stopped second-guessing them. Now I just pick up the phone and say I want more."
Marchionne announced the 1 million goal at the Detroit auto show.
Jeep started selling the Cherokee in late October and just began shipping the vehicle overseas for international sales. Excluding the Cherokee, Jeep built 720,953 vehicles in 2013.
A Jeep plant manager predicted late last year that Chrysler would build more than half a million Wranglers and Cherokees in Toledo in 2014. If Wrangler production remains relatively flat, that would mean about 280,000 Cherokees.
Marchionne said the Compass and Patriot were the weakest products in Chrysler's portfolio. The two compact SUVs are to be replaced by a single model in 2015. But a new transmission and interior upgrades done in 2013 have boosted Compass and Patriot sales, Manley said, and increased interest in them overseas.
"I think this year they're going to beat last year's sales again. I've got additional demand for international markets" for the Compass and Patriot, Manley said.
Chrysler has not released a name, details or sales expectations for the new subcompact Jeep, which will share a platform with the Fiat 500L and will be built in Europe.