FUJISAWA, Japan -- Jeep executives are fond of noting that the brand, perhaps the most American of American marques, wasn't originally built for the home market. Back in 1941, the progenitor was bound for battlefields in Europe and the Pacific.
These days, Jeep is busy with overseas conquests of a different kind. Global sales have tripled since 2009, and booming business outside North America accounts for a cool third of that volume.
Indeed, the new compact Renegade is the first Jeep designed expressly for the international market. But, as shown by Cadillac's tepid reception outside the U.S., all-American designs sometimes get lost in translation when sold overseas.
It's a balancing act for the design team at Jeep. They must preserve the 4x4 brand's rugged American DNA while offering designs that click with the diverse tastes of buyers from Boston to Beijing to Berlin.