Sergio Marchionne, chief executive of Fiat Chrysler, is aiming for the Jeep brand to double its global sales to over 1.5 million vehicles by 2018, sources told Automotive News Europe. Marchionne views Jeep as one of the main pillars of growth for Fiat Chrysler and is expected to disclose plans for the brand when he unveils a new five-year product and business plan for the merged company.
Jeep is the only brand expected to overshoot the sales targets that Marchionne set in November 2009. At the time, Marchionne wanted Jeep to sell over 800,000 units in 2014, from 497,000 in 2008. Now, Jeep is expected to sell over a million units this year, after selling 731,565 vehicles in 2013.
Seen to boost that growth is its new entry-level model – the Jeep Renegade, which production is due to start next month at Fiat Chrysler’s Melfi site in Italy. The site could produce 150,000 Renegades annually and would also build the Fiat 500X, which is also underpinned by the platform that underpins the Renegade.
Melfi will initially produce build the Renegade for global markets, with Fiat Chrysler’s Pernambuco site in Brazil starting pilot production of the vehicle for South America later this year. Fiat Chrysler's Latin America CEO Cledorvino Belini remarked last month that the Pernambuco site will be Fiat Chrysler’s “most advanced plant in the world” with the Renegade being its first product.
Fiat Chrysler expects to start Jeep output in China by late next year following an agreement with local partner Guangzhou Automobile Group. The carmaker disclosed last month that three Jeep models will be produced with Guangzhou Auto.
Sources in Italy told Automotive News Europe that the Renegade will be the first Jeep produced in Guangzhou, with a second Jeep model dubbed as 551 slated for production in 2016.