Fiat-Chrysler to delay launch of new Jeep compact crossover ‘B-SUV’ to 2014

Article by Christian Andrei, on February 4, 2012

Fiat-Chrysler will postpone the launch of a new Jeep compact SUV intended for production in Italy. Production will now start in the second quarter of 2014. The B-SUV, which is the codename of the new Jeep, had been due to begin production in Fiat's Mirafiori plant in Turin in 2013. The B-SUV will be sold in the Europe and United States, among other markets.

It will be smaller than the Jeep Patriot and Compass. In December 2013, a sister model for Fiat will commence production at the factory, replacing the Fiat Sedici currently manufactured by Suzuki in Hungary.

Fiat requires new models like the replacement Sedici in order to offset declining sales. In 2011, sales of the Sedici in Europe fell 10% to 14,800 units based on the data from Jato Dynamics market researchers. On Wednesday, Fiat stated that it will postpone a 1 billion-euro expansion of the Mirafiori plant's capacity until late 2013.

This is a year later than the original plan. The expansion will allow the facility to assemble 280,000 compact crossovers annually.

The delay comes after Fiat has made a spending review of future investments. The automaker anticipates total market sales this year in Europe will drop to a range of 12.9 million and 13.4 million from 13.6 million in 2011. In its main Italian market, Fiat anticipates sales to drop to a range of 1.65 and 1.70 million units, which is below the 20-year low of 1.75 million units sold last year. 

In addition, Fiat stated that the Mirafiori factory will still assemble the Alfa Romeo MiTo subcompact model, including a revamped variant to due in 2013. The automaker will extend Mirafiori production of the Lancia Musa small minivan, which was originally planned to halt production at the end of last year.

With so many manufacturers entering the small SUV market, it was only a matter of time before the grandfather of them all, Jeep, joined in too.

Renegade is every part a Jeep, a solid 4x4 aimed at those who like to live life on the wild side. This is Jeep's first entry into this market place and Fiat Chrysler has decided to put their best minds in both Italy and the US.

The first of its kind to be built at the new SATA plant in Melfi, Basilcata, the Renegade has some DNA from both its parents. Style, class, dynamism from the Italians and versatility, durability and 73 years of 4x4 driving know-how from the Americans.

Jeep Renegade has a lot of style; it is agile with a fantastic interior which is incredibly roomy. The Renegade supports the on/off road lifestyle and hasn't sacrificed any of its 4x4 capabilities.

The Renegade comes with two new 4x4 systems – the Jeep Active Drive and Jeep Active Drive Low, allowing this Jeep to seamlessly transition from 2 and 4 wheel drive via a unique design of the rear axle. These changes allow the vehicle to provide even better fuel economy than a 4x4 as well as better traction and power than a 2 wheel drive.

Having a nine-speed automatic transmission also aids the innovative drive system by enabling enhanced performance whether the Jeep Renegade is on or off-road. The model also has the option of up to 12 different powertrains to appeal to every customer.

Initially available in Africa, Europe and the Middle East, the Renegade's final options include four trim levels – Limited, Longitude, Sport and Trailhawk and a range of petrol and turbo diesel engines depending upon the drivers’ requirements.

Topics: fiat, chrysler, crossover

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