The Jeep brand will spend many billions for an overhaul that will widen its product range, increase its international presence, and deepen the partnership of Jeep and U.S. parent Chrysler with Fiat S.p.A. According to Reuters, Fiat is planning to expand the Jeep lineup from having four nameplates to boasting at least six by 2016.
Sources said that Fiat platforms will be used on three of the upcoming Jeeps. Several of these models will also have the same underpinnings as companion models from Fiat and Alfa Romeo and Maserati (premium European brands). This four-year overhaul is being headed by Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne. He wants to establish Jeep as one of Fiat’s core global brands. This is clearly the most ambitious plan yet to give the 62-year-old Jeep brand a boost.
Jeep’s origins can be traced from the legendary World War II military vehicle. In the past 70 years, Jeep has been owned by Renault SA and Daimler AG at different periods. Industry analyst David Cole, the chairman of consulting firm AutoHarvest, said that Jeep holds the “strongest global reputation of any brand” within the company but it hasn’t been developed yet.
This started to change under Marchionne, who was aiming to achieve greater integration of the Fiat and Chrysler product ranges, while Jeep gets special attention and a big investment.
So far, Jeep is already doing incredibly well. Its sales in the U.S. through November have increased by almost 16%. It’s on track in 2012 to overtake its previous global sales record of 675,000 vehicles in 1999. The brand has become available in over 120 countries. Almost a third of Jeep’s sales (approximately 218,000 units) will originate from overseas markets.