MELFI, Italy -- The success of the Jeep Renegade has increased sales expectations of a larger crossover due next year, a senior executive with the brand said.
The new crossover will slot below the Cherokee to replace the Compass and Patriot when it debuts in 2016, Jeep said in its five-year plan announced last year. The name hasn't been announced, but media speculation has Compass as a strong possibility.
Jeep says the vehicle, called C-SUV internally, will be shown before next summer -- likely in late March at the New York auto show.
The vehicle is expected to improve the brand's weak showing in the fast-growing compact crossover segment around the world. The Renegade has revealed a global appetite for a smaller Jeep. The Melfi plant in southern Italy where the Renegade is made had produced 149,000 in the 13 months through September. Production also started in Brazil this year.
"The expectation for C-SUV is now very big," Dante Zilli, Jeep's head of marketing in Europe, told Automotive News. "Renegade is comfortably above targets."
He said the vehicle's styling will reflect the fact that the compact crossover market is more conservative than the Renegade segment below it. Shots of the vehicle spied testing in September in Michigan show that the new vehicle loses some of the squared-off chunkiness of the Renegade.
Jeep hasn't said what platform will be used, but one possibility is a stretched version of the so-called small-wide architecture used by the Renegade and Fiat 500X. Jeep has not announced a production site.