File photo: Jonathan Ernst  / Reuters
File photo: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

Jeep to build smaller SUV, drop diesels

By Colleen Barry Time of article published Jun 1, 2018

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Balocco, Italy - Jeep boss Mike Manley says Jeep will enter three new segments over the next five years: a small city-car size SUV targeting customers accustomed to sedans and hatchback, larger SUVs with three rows of seats which comprise the largest segment in key markets and the extra-large SUV.

Speaking at the presentation on Friday of Fiat Chrysler Auto's 2018-2022 business plan, Manley said that by the end of the company's five-year plan all Jeeps will have an electrified version, to make the brand more environmentally friendly - and that transformation to more environmentally friendly technology will include dropping diesel engines in Europe and the Middle East. .

Jeep should be more able than most brands to recoup the investment in electrification, he said, because the technology will also enhance torque controls, something he believes Jeep customers are willing to pay for.

Manley said Jeep currently sells about 1.9 million vehicles a year. He did not give a target for sales in 2022 but said that currently one in every 17 utility vehicles sold in the world is a Jeep and he expects that to be one in 12 by 2022.

But what about Fiat and Chrysler?

The presentation focused on Jeep SUVs, Ram trucks and premium brands Maserati and Alfa Romeo, which together "comprise the most significant part of our revenues," FCA boss Sergio Marchionne said. Plans for the brands relied heavily on adding electrified powertrains, a technology where Fiat Chrysler has lagged.

All new Jeep, Maserati and Alfa Romeo models launched in the next five years will have some version of electrified powertrains, while eliminating diesels. Ram trucks, however will limit alternative powertrains to a range-topping premium model, the TRX, which will compete with Ford's Raptor.

Notably absent from the presentation were the Fiat and Chrysler brands, each representing less-profitable passenger cars, whose sales are dropping particularly in the United States, where Fiat Chrysler makes more most of its profits, but also in fast-growing China.


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