Jeep Looks to New Models to Boost European Sales

Over the next few years, Chrysler’s Jeep brand is looking to increase its European sales to 125,000 units according to Jeep’s CEO, Mike Manley.

Manley said the automaker plans to launch “greener” models and expand its European dealer network in hopes of reaching its target number by 2014. The company is forecast to sell only 25,000 units in Europe this year.

The European sales goal is a key component of Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne’s ambition to increase annual global sales of the Jeep brand by 800,000 units. That’s nearly double the 420,000 units Jeep sold worldwide in 2010.

In an interview earlier this month, Manley said, “Our plans for Europe are ambitious but doable. Europe for Jeep is an incredibly important market. We have been here for 30 years and half of our international sales historically were in Europe.”

Jeep plans to introduce new models including a small SUV and to greatly expand its European dealer network. Among the new models will be three fuel-efficient SUVs which the company hopes will help boost sales in European countries where vehicle tax rates are tied to emissions.

The first small SUV has been described as a “baby” Wrangler that will likely be imported to Europe from Fiat’s Toluca, Mexico facilities. The model – currently referred to as “B-SUV” – will also be available in the North American and Latin American markets beginning in late 2013 or early the following year.

Jeep also plans to launch a replacement for its Cherokee/Liberty model. The new “D-SUV” as it’s being called, is slated to go into production in the U.S. in 2013 for sale in Europe. The new model will initially be available only as an all-wheel-drive vehicle although there is a possibility that a front-wheel-drive version could be available at some point.

For the European market, the new model will reportedly be equipped with a Fiat 170-hp, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine and MultiAir variable valve timing system. The new engine configuration will deliver more power and torque along with improved fuel-economy and lower tailpipe emissions.

In mid-2013, Jeep plans to launch a single replacement for the Compass and Patriot models. The new model will be built at Fiat’s Mirafiori, Italy plant and sold worldwide. Manley said the new “C-SUV” will share a number of components and systems with its cousin, the Alfa Romeo C-SUV which is slated to go into production at the Mirafiori plant by the end of next year.

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