BALOCCO, Italy--Jeep plans to boost sales in Europe substantially with a new small SUV, European engines, and many more dealerships, Jeep CEO Mike Manley said last week.
The goal is to sell 125,000 units by 2014 from 25,000 units forecast this year, he said.
"Our plans for Europe are ambitious but doable," Manley told Automotive News Europe. "Europe for Jeep is an incredibly important market. We had been here for 30 years, and half of our international sales historically were in Europe."
Jeep will launch three fuel-efficient SUVs aimed at boosting sales in European countries that have emission-based vehicle taxes.
- Jeep's first small SUV, a Fiat-based "baby" Wrangler that may be built in Toluca, Mexico, for sale in Europe, North America, and Latin America starting in late 2013 or early 2014.
- A replacement for the Cherokee medium SUV, called the Liberty in the United States, that will go into production in the United States in early 2013 and will be exported to Europe by spring 2013. The SUV will use a 170-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine. The Grand Cherokee large SUV stays in the lineup with a 241-hp, 3.0-liter V-6 diesel engine built by VM Motori of Italy.
- One SUV to replace the Jeep Compass and Patriot. It will debut in Europe in mid-2013 and will be built for global markets, including North America, at Fiat's Mirafiori plant in Turin. The vehicle will share many components and systems with the Alfa Romeo C-SUV that will be built in Mirafiori by the end of 2012. The C-SUV will be offered with all-wheel and front-wheel drive, Manley said.
In Europe, the Jeep Wrangler offers a fuel-saving stop-start system for the first time on a Jeep vehicle. The system, coupled with VM Motori's 200-hp, 2.8-liter four-cylinder diesel engine and manual transmission, cuts fuel consumption 13 percent.
By June 1, Jeep will have 430 dealers across Europe. Jeep aims to have 650 dealers in Europe by 2014.
The brand expects to benefit from rising SUV sales in Europe. It expects European sales of SUVs to grow to 1.2 million in 2014 from 800,000 last year.
Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat and Chrysler, wants to increase Jeep's global sales to more than 800,000 units in 2014 from 420,000 last year, so success in Europe will be a key element.
(Source: Automotive News)