- A subcompact Jeep SUV that will be positioned below the Jeep Compass and Patriot will be introduced at the end of the first quarter of 2014, Edmunds has learned.
- Sales of the unnamed Jeep SUV will begin later this year.
- The baby Jeep is sometimes referred to as "Jeepster" by the media, but there is no confirmation of that name by the automaker.
The baby Jeep is sometimes referred to as "Jeepster" by the media, but there is no confirmation of that name by the automaker.
The new Jeep will be an Italian-built model that the automaker promises will be engineered to handle rugged off-road adventures.
"Capability is absolutely important to us," Jeep President and CEO Mike Manley told Edmunds in an interview at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show. "So what I will tell you is that we will, as we have done in every segment, make sure that we have the capability that is true Jeep."
Manley said the new Jeep "will be introduced at the end of the first quarter," suggesting a March debut. Sales will begin later in the year. Buyers are expected to come from a wide range of models and segments, with some purchasing an SUV for the first time.
"Obviously there is a growing subcompact segment," Manley said. "But when you can offer a vehicle that has very competitive fuel economy, really good ride and handling, (with) the utility of an SUV, you will see buyers come from subcompact hatchbacks, sedans coming into that market as well."
Manley did not reveal the name of the new Jeep. However, he said the unnamed vehicle will be smaller than the Compass and Patriot, Jeep's compact models. The new vehicle is being developed on a front-drive Fiat platform that will have four-wheel-drive capability. Assembly is planned at a Fiat plant in Italy.
The new Jeep model is not the first Chrysler Group vehicle developed on a Fiat platform. The current Dodge Dart, 2014 Jeep Cherokee and the 2015 Chrysler 200 also share front-drive Fiat platforms. However, the Dart is assembled in Belvidere, Illinois; Cherokee, Toledo, Ohio; and the 200 will be assembled in Sterling Heights, Michigan, a Detroit suburb.
Asked if the subcompact Jeep will be the lowest-priced model in the Jeep line, Manley said "we won't talk about pricing yet, not even a hint."
Edmunds says: Car shoppers will soon be able to get their hands on a small Jeep SUV with a lot of Italian DNA.