Jeep turns up the volume
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