Jeep turns up the vol­ume

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

NAIL­ING the re­place­ment for the mid-sized Pa­triot and Compass SUVs will be the key to Jeep’s am­bi­tious growth plans in the next three years.

Jeep in­ter­na­tional prod­uct plan­ner Adrian van Cam­p­en­hout says a strong re­cep­tion for the small Rene­gade cross­over and a vol­ume-boost­ing “Com­pa­triot” re­place­ment will be needed if the com­pany is to com­ply with global boss Ser­gio Mar­chionne’s de­mand to lift sales from 1 mil­lion last year to 1.9 mil­lion by 2018.

“Ob­vi­ously he (Mar­chionne) has a vi­sion for where the brand needs to go. And that’s where we’re go­ing,” van Cam­p­en­hout says.

“To do that we need to ex­tend the line-up with new mod­els, add vari­ants to ex­ist­ing mod­els and con­tinue to lead our seg­ments.

“The Rene­gade is in play in the fastest-grow­ing global seg­ment. We have a new (com­pact) SUV in the pipe­line and our new seven-seater (Grand Wagoneer).

“We’ve got an all-new Grand Chero­kee and Wran­gler in 2017 … with the ve­hi­cles we have now and the mod­els we’ll have soon … if you look at our growth over the last few years, we can meet the num­ber.”

Van Cam­p­en­hout cites the Rene­gade as an ex­am­ple of how Jeep can ad­just its “Trail-Rated” badg­ing depend­ing on the seg­ment is sell­ing in.

“Will the Rene­gade Trail­hawk do the Ru­bi­con Trail? No, it won’t,” he says, “That’s what the Wran­gler is for.”

“Will it go places most own­ers won’t ever con­sider tak­ing it? Yes it will. A Trail­Rated ve­hi­cle will al­ways be the most ca­pa­ble of­froader in its seg­ment with gen­uine four-by-four abil­ity.”

He also says Jeep is con­sid­er­ing a ve­hi­cle smaller than the Rene­gade to cater to emerg­ing mar­kets in Latin Amer­ica and the Asia Pa­cific.

He won’t be drawn on whether that ve­hi­cle will be a ru­moured three-door Rene­gade or a com­pletely new model.

“The emerg­ing economies rep­re­sent a big part of our fu­ture growth and there’s an ar­gu­ment the Rene­gade is too ex­pen­sive for those mar­kets,” he says.

“We’ll need a ve­hi­cle to (sell there). The brand is cap­tur­ing a lot of mar­ket share ev­ery­where around the world. We sell in 100-plus coun­tries (so it could work).

In­dia would be an ideal mar­ket for de­vel­op­ing a small ve­hi­cle with the usual Jeep at­tributes. “It would work in your neck of the woods (Australia), too, I would

imag­ine.”

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