The little Jeep Renegade that launched this week in Australia measures 4.23 metres long, 1.88m wide and 1.68m tall, making it the smallest model of the current era for the US off-road specialist brand. Indeed, there have been international rumours of a three-door small SUV, a la the Suzuki Jimny.
And following on from our report at the international launch of the Renegade earlier this year, where product planning chief Adrian van Campenhout suggested something even smaller than Renegade could be a possibility, it seems ever more likely a smaller model could come to market.
It’s not just because Jeep has seemingly left itself some wiggle room under the Renegade in terms of pricing – it starts at $29,500 for the base model manual, where some rivals are up to $9500 cheaper.
At this week’s local launch of the boxy little SUV, Jeep head of design Mark Allen admitted up front that a sub-Renegade model was a possibility.
“Yes, there’s a possibility,” Allen said of a smaller SUV.
“Is there a plan? No, but again you’ve got to take perspective on our brand a little bit,” he said.
“We were happy in the NAFTA market selling three vehicles for the longest amount of time, and all the other buzz going on around the building was around the other brands.
“With the SUV market’s popularity and the desire to go worldwide [driven by FCA head Sergio Marchionne], Jeep is the brand that we can truly go worldwide with,” he said of the push for the brand to expand to hit 1.5 million sales by 2018.
“I can walk into any market now, that I’m not in, and say ‘Jeep’, and you know what the hell I’m talking about. That’s the strength,” he said, clearly insinuating that other brands in the FCA ranks such as Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Chrysler or Dodge don’t have that potential.
“So to go worldwide, which we’re doing very rapidly - and [Renegade] is part of that plan - but there’s certainly smaller cars in many markets than this,” he said.
“So, does it make sense? It might. Right now, is there a plan I’m actively working on? No.
“It’s chalkboard sketches at the moment. You can go above where you’re at, you can go below where you’re at.”
Should Jeep do a smaller SUV than Renegade? Tell us in the comments section below.