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Jeep Launches Second Plant in China

Move critical to Jeep's global growth plans.

by on Apr.19, 2016

A new Jeep Renegade makes its debut in China.

The first locally made Jeep Renegade SUV began rolling down the assembly line in Guangzhou, China, this week, marking a critical step in parent Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s bid to get a foothold in the world’s largest automotive market.

A weak presence in China is one of the reasons why FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said the automaker needs to find a partner. The irony is that Jeep – then owned by American Motors – was the first foreign automaker to set up a Chinese manufacturing venture. But it lost that operation following the break-up of the ill-fated DaimlerChrysler AG nearly a decade ago.

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FCA spent a number of years trying to negotiate Jeep’s return to production in China, just launching its first new plant there last October. The Changsha facility currently produces the bigger Jeep Cherokee model.

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With New Plant in India, Jeep Set to Build SUVs on Four Continents

All-new model planned for $280 million plant in Ranjangaon.

by on Jul.02, 2015

The new Renegade marked a turning point for Jeep which is producing it in Italy, rather than the US.

Little more than a domestic American brand just a few years ago, Jeep is going global, expanding both its distribution network to markets as far flung as Berlin, Beijing and Mumbai. It will soon have production facilities, meanwhile, on four continents.

The subsidiary of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles confirmed this week that it will invest $280 million as part of a joint manufacturing venture with India’s Tata Motors. The factory will produce several vehicles, including both the Jeep Grand Cherokee and an all-new model, company officials indicated.

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That project is an “important step as we continue to expand the availability of Jeep products around the world,” FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said.

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Big Things in Small Packages: Americans Falling for Pint-Sized SUVs

Demand for B-segment crossovers expected to triple in 2015.

by on May.05, 2015

The compact crossover is quickly becoming one of the world's fastest-growing market segment.

When it comes to cars, Americans have traditionally thought that bigger is better. Yet, Honda is betting big on the smallest entry in its expanding SUV line-up. The new 2016 HR-V shares the same underlying platform as the Japanese maker’s subcompact Fit hatchback, and it’s expected to serve as “a gateway to our line-up,” says Jeff Conrad, the general manager of the Honda brand.

But Honda is by no means alone. What was once a modest niche is rapidly becoming one of the market’s hottest segments. It’s hard to find a single major manufacturer that doesn’t have a small utility vehicle in its showrooms, or at least one on the way.

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Sales are expected to nearly triple this year, to around 236,000, forecasts Stephanie Brinley, a lead analyst with IHS Automotive, in large part because automakers have been able to supply both the chicken and the egg.

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Pickup, Plug-in Hybrid Appear on Jeep’s Horizons

Maker looks for new options, new models as it aims to double sales.

by on Mar.19, 2015

The shape of things to come? The Jeep Wrangler Red Rock Responder concept could be followed - eventually - by a production Wrangler pickup.

Looking to nearly double global sales by 2018 – while also having to address increasingly stringent emissions and fuel economy standards — Jeep is looking at a variety of product and powertrain options that could include a new pickup as well as the brand’s first plug-in hybrid, revealed CEO Mike Manley.

Jeep recently launched its smallest model, the new Renegade, and is gaining momentum in markets as diverse as Beijing and Berlin. It is adding new factory capacity in Europe, Asia and Latin America, and is set to make a critical decision about future production at its ancestral home in Toledo, Ohio.

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It is “a transformational year,” said Manley, during a preview of seven concept SUVs Jeep will take out onto the trails during its annual Easter Safari in Moab, Utah.

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First Drive: 2015 Jeep Renegade

Little SUV delivers big performance on road and off.

by on Jan.23, 2015

The 2015 Jeep Renegade builds on Jeep’s heritage. It has the Wrangler-inspired round headlights and a seven-slot grille.

The Jeep Renegade is one of the most important vehicles the Jeep brand has launched, well since last year when it introduced the Cherokee. But it’s vital to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which is eager to emerge as a truly global company.

The launch of the Renegade also means FCA has to show it can take the secret sauce that has made the Jeep brand popular over the years in the U.S. and transform it into a truly global brand. It also certainly means that the Renegade also has to show that it can live up to the brand’s reputation for agility and capability when the pavement ends.

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My distinct impression, after driving the Renegade, both on road and off is that the Renegade measures up to the other vehicles in the Jeep portfolio. The only difference is that the Renegade is smaller. (more…)

Renegade to Lead Jeep’s Global Expansion

Jeep’s Manley expects big results from little Jeep.

by on Jan.20, 2015

The Jeep Renegade - shown here at its Geneva debut - will be a critical piece of FCA's global focus.

The new Jeep Renegade holds the key to the brand’s global expansion.

Mike Manley, president of the Jeep brand, said that Jeep sales have tripled during the past five years expanded by revitalizing and renewing the existing product portfolio. The sales growth surprised many observers who thought it was unlikely or even impossible for Jeep to sell 1 million vehicles, the target set out in the first five-year plan laid out by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne last January.

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The Renegade, however, represents a genuine expansion of Jeep portfolio, Manley said. It also represents Jeep’s coming of age as a true global brand. (more…)

Chrysler SEMA Concepts Hint at Niche Products to Come

Mopar generating double-digit growth for maker.

by on Oct.24, 2014

The Dodge Challenger T/A concept is a 485-horsepower beast that the maker is displaying at the SEMA show.

It’s a beautiful autumn morning as Mark Trostle leads a group of journalists out to the design department courtyard behind the Chrysler Technology Center.  “It’s like Candyland out here,” says the chief designer for Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s Mopar division, as he surveys an assortment of concept vehicles that will soon head to Las Vegas for the annual SEMA Show.

That’s the yearly gathering of the automotive parts and accessories world, a fast-growing industry that generates more than $30 billion in business annually. Not surprisingly, makers like Fiat Chrysler have been increasing their presence at SEMA each year hoping not only to put a halo around their brands, but also to help sell more of their own parts and accessories.

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Mopar, in fact, has been generating double-digit growth in recent years, in part by coming up with striking concept vehicles that illustrate ways to use products from its own parts catalogue. But it’s also going to be showing several special concepts that could soon be put, in whole, into production by various Fiat Chrysler brands. (more…)

Fiat Ready to Roll Out Third Member of the 500 Family

New 500X to share basic underpinnings of new Jeep Renegade.

by on Oct.02, 2014

Fiat debuted the 2015 500X, its new compact crossover, at the Paris Motor Show today.

The little Fiat family has just gotten a bit bigger, the Italian maker rolling out its long-promised 500X crossover-utility vehicle at the Paris Motor Show today.

If the look is a bit familiar, that should be no surprise. The 500X shares many of its underpinnings with both the Fiat 500L and the new Jeep Renegade, though it retains traditional Fiat styling cues.

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But Fiat is hoping that the new 500X will significantly enhance its brand appeal, especially in the U.S. market where it has been struggling to gain traction after making its return several years back. (more…)

Small is Big as Jeep Unveils New Renegade

New ute could become Jeep's best-seller.

by on Mar.04, 2014

The Jeep Renegade makes its Geneva debut.

Big things come in small packages, or so Jeep is hoping as it enters one of the world’s fastest-growing market segments with the new compact Jeep Renegade which is making its public debut at the 2014 Geneva Auto Show.

Using an all-new platform and a mix of 16 different powertrain packages targeting different markets, Jeep is counting on the Renegade to give it some much-needed momentum as it presses forward with its global expansion plan.

The Renegade, explains Jeep CEO Mike Manley, “will act as an entryway to our brand.”

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Manley is so confident about that  global expansion that he is boosting Jeep’s sale forecast for 2014 from the original target of 800,000 to a full1 million.  And it could grow even faster if Jeep can soon wrap up plans to launch production in China, the world’s largest automotive market. Significantly, the new Renegade will be assembled in Italy, at Fiat’s Melfi plant — and will be exported, eventually, to about 100 countries.

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Jeep May Launch U.S. Diesel

Maker also unveils six customized models.

by on Apr.08, 2011

The Jeep Wrangler Pork Chop: a conventional Wrangler on a diet.

The steady rise in oil prices has apparently led Chrysler’s Jeep division to rethink the opportunities for fuel-stingy diesel engines.  A senior executive says the brand could have a new diesel in its line-up within the next few years.

Jeep has experimented with diesels, in recent years, both with the Liberty and larger Grand Cherokee models.  But with fuel prices soaring nationwide, many analysts – and apparently some key Chrysler executives – are convinced demand for “oil burners” could soar.  More importantly, they might deliver enough of a mileage boost to keep demand for SUVs from collapsing, as briefly happened when gas prices surged past $4 a gallon in mid-2008.

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The possibility of a diesel came up during a meeting at Chrysler headquarters in Auburn Hills, MI where Jeep pulled the wraps off four custom kits for its various sport-ute models that will be participating in the annual Easter Jeep Safari, in Moab, Utah, later this month.

“Diesel in some of our models makes absolute sense,” Jeep Brand CEO Michael Manley said. “But I still have to make sure there is a sufficient marketplace here to make it make sense from a business perspective.”

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