Friday 4 March 2011

Jeep planning sub-compact SUV for 2013

Chrysler's SUV brand, Jeep will be expanding its line-up with an addition of a sub-compact SUV that is due in 2013.

CEO Mike Manley said “there’s definitely space in the market for a Jeep-brand B-segment SUV. We’re already working on a project that will meet that need, and expect to have the car on the road by 2013.”

Fiat's mechanical and engine input into the upcoming vehicle is vital. We can expect a 1.3 and 1.6 litre JTDm, in addition to the advanced 1.4 litre MultiAir petrol engine. The sub-compact SUV may sit upon the Punto Evo platform and will be available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive. The convenience of four-wheel drive on range-topping models was described as “an absolute necessity” by Manley.

The closet rival for the new model is likely to be Mini's Countryman, so we can expect a lengthy options list and many ways of personal customisation. Unlike the Countryman, Manley has suggested that the new SUV will draw styling from the Wrangler. He said: “imagine a slightly softer and smaller updated version of the Wrangler’s iconic grille and headlight design and you’ll have a good idea of how its front-end should look”.

Jeep is hoping the B-Segment based model will bring in a younger audience, in addition to stealing sales away from the popular Mini Countryman and range-topping Nissan Juke's.

“It could be a breakthrough car in the US market as well,” said Manley. “At the moment, there’s little precedent for a subcompact SUVs selling in big numbers in North America, but we think that a car with the power of the Jeep brand behind it could be really popular.”

“I’ve already reviewed some designs for the car, and I’m very excited,” Manley went on. “This is going to be a very special car for us.”

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