Jeep plans to have more dealerships in China from 160 to almost 220 this year and commence local output of the Cherokee SUV in November and the Renegade in 2016, according to chief executive Mike Manley. Jeep is planning to hike its sales to 1.9 million cars in 2018 from over 1 million in 2014 by expanding outside North America through setting up production in Asia, Europe and South America.
Manley, who is also chief operating office for Fiat Chrysler in Asia, told Bloomberg in an interview that "getting the launch of China right” is important as the country is one of the major cornerstones to achieve the 1.9 million sales target. The brand’s global sales have surged thanks to new products and the high demand for SUVs.
The expansion of Jeep as well as Alfa Romeo is vital to a strategy of Fiat Chrysler chief executive Sergio Marchionne to sell 7 million cars in 2018 from about 4.6 million in 2014. Jeff Schuster, an analyst with LMC Automotive, remarked that Jeep is iconic “and not just in North America." LMC expects Jeep to have over 30 percent of its production outside North America by 2018.
He said that Jeep is on track in China, adding that everything the brand has monitored in terms of the Cherokee pre-production “looks good." After increasing its dealerships in China to nearly 220 this year, Jeep will add more, Manley said. In additionm he said that the carmaker is expanding in Brazil where it will commence production of the Renegade in April.
Jeep is also more than tripling its dealerships in Brazil to about 90 for when it commences sales of the Renegade there, adding that he "would love" to have 120 retailers at the end of 2015. Jeep also has plans to enter the Indian market, intending to sell the Wrangler SUV by the end of 2015, and the Grand Cherokee at the start of 2016.
In a few days, Jeep will be unveiling the new Renegade Hard Steel Jeep at the 2015 Geneva International Motor Show. This version of the Jeep was created by the Jeep brand in collaboration with the Mopar brand and with support from the FCA Style Centre.
According to Jeep, the Renegade Hard Steel Jeep "explores" the potential of a model that can deliver countless customization options while providing a preview of possible Mopar accessories for the new Jeep Renegade.
Jeep noted that the Renegade Hard Steel Jeep is based on the Trailhawk and is not just a product of customization in aftermarket.