Jeep could be close to introducing a new vehicle even smaller than the Renegade for Europe and other global markets, Automotive News reports. According to that outlet, Jeep CEO Mike Manley told reporters at the 2018 North American International Auto Show that the brand is looking “very closely” at bringing out a smaller vehicle in certain select markets that are favorable to diminutive vehicles.
Importantly, that doesn’t conjure the United States, where consumers tend to favor larger vehicles.
The tiny new Jeep could be built on the same platform as the Fiat 500 and Panda, at Fiat Chrysler’s Pomigliano plant in Italy. Supplier sources have told Automotive News Europe that talks of producing the small Jeep at Pomigliano started in early-2017, but that the project encountered a lot of starts and stops.
Manley spoke to Autocar about the possibility of a new B-segment Jeep back in October, 2016, sharing some of the difficulty in designing such a model. The new vehicle would “still have to be capable,” he said, and still exhibit the brand’s rugged personality. But “when you think of some of the elements that make a vehicle capable, such as ground clearance, the geometry of the vehicle makes it more difficult.”
An official announcement on the diminutive new Jeep vehicle could come in June, when Fiat Chrysler Automobile CEO Sergio Marchionne presents the automaker’s new financial and product plan to carry the company through to 2022.