With one major hurdle to Fiat-Chrysler merger almost out of the way, chief executive Sergio Marchionne is now focused on expanding the global reach of the Jeep brand. In fact, Marchionne has recently made a prediction for Jeep -- sales of 1 million SUVs around the world for 2014 or a 37-percent jump from Jeep's global sales in 2013.
Marchionne remarked at the Detroit Auto Show that while the lack of a mid-sized SUV in the United States hit overall sales 2013, strong demand for the Jeep Cherokee will help Chrysler increase sales by 37 percent. Since production of the Jeep Liberty ended last year and any remaining sales were minimal, the automaker did not have a mid-size SUV offering in the American SUV market.
Chrysler was only able to sell Cherokee in the final two months of 2013 and Marchionne remarked that there is indication that the company would make up for lost sales this year.
"We've got the small Jeep coming out of Europe," he said, referring to some late-year sales for the unnamed compact SUV that will be unveiled at the Geneva auto show in March.
Marchionne said that the increased output of the Grand Cherokee, the top-selling Jeep in 2013 will help Chrysler achieve its sales target this year. Production of the Grand Cherokee surged after Chrysler was able to get rid of some of the bottlenecks at the Jefferson North plant in Detroit. Marchionne added that they expect more output from the Wrangler site in Toledo, Ohio.