With the small SUV segment growing at an eyebrow-raising rate, it's almost a no brainer to state the importance of the all-new 2018 Jeep Compass when it launches in Australia later in 2017.
"It will be on sale at the very end of 2017, probably December," Jeep Australia brand chief Guillaume Drelon told CarAdvice at the launch of the updated 2017 Grand Cherokee in New Zealand this week.
"We are already planning for pricing and specification for that model. When we are working on that, we are working on different steps, we usually start a long way out and fine-tune close to launch. Market conditions can move, and it's a moving segment with moving competition."
Drelon believes the Compass has the potential to really make an impact, when it does launch locally, and if our international launch drive was anything to go by, the all-new model is going to compete strongly in an extremely competitive segment.
"There is true potential for it to sell in Australia," Drelon said.
"It isn't the biggest sub segment - not as big as medium, for example. Small is under 100,000 units, so it is a bit smaller than medium and large, but if we come to the market with a strong offer, we can bring something new to the market."
At launch, we thought the Compass's strongest point was its complete departure from the old model, in that there is effectively no comparison between the two. Drelon and local FCA boss Steve Zanlunghi both agree.
"People aren't expecting it, because it is so completely different to the old Compass," Drelon told CarAdvice. "We also have a proper off-road model, so the story is about consistency across all Jeep models."
"We will look to conquest new buyers because of our different it is," Steve Zanlunghi said. "It is a totally different vehicle, and the first RHD Compass rolled off the line today, so we will have it here in Australia in December."