Fiat bumped up its stake in Chrysler to 25 percent last month, this could mean Jeep has considerably more 'access' to Chrysler and Fiat technology, allowing the company to borrow parts from its parent companies. It was reported a few months ago that Jeep was thinking of developing a new entry-level SUV too, but now it looks like it is definitely on the cards.
CEO of Jeep, Mike Manley, spoke to Autocar earlier today about the plans at the Geneva Motor Show. He 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."
Although definite details of the car are yet to be released, it's speculated that the Jeep will use a majority of parts taken from Fiat's smaller car lineup. Even though the new Jeep is going to be the smallest car in the company's lineup, it's expected to be larger than the equivalent rival crossover such as the MINI Countryman.
However, styling of the new car is confirmed to be in line with Jeep's current and traditional design language. Manley 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."
The car will go on sale initially in the UK and Europe and will also hit the US market where small SUVs are relatively unpopular. Manley has confidence that the car will do well on US soil though. Manley added,
"It could be a breakthrough car in the US market as well. 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."
Jeep is hoping the new car will provide worthy competition to cars like the Nissan Juke - a segment of car that has been selling quite well lately in Europe.