Jeep could build smaller SUV than new Renegade

Jeep Renegade
5 Mar, 2014 10:07am Steve Fowler

Baby Jeep could be joined by an even smaller brother to rival VW Taigun, but big Grand Wagoneer comes first

Jeep’s new Nissan Juke rival, the Renegade, might not be the smallest Jeep according to boss Mike Manley.

“An A [segment] SUV is something we’ll look at, but our priority is above the Grand Cherokee,” said Manley. “That car will be a full-size, seven seater that’ll be bigger than the old Commander and will be called Grand Wagoneer.’

While the Grand Wagoneer is unlikely to make it to Europe, it’s probable that a new small Jeep would be built in Europe using Fiat technology. The new Renegade is being built in Italy alongside Fiat’s SUV version of the 500 on a heavily modified version of Fiat’s ‘small wide’ platform architecture. “We couldn’t make an SUV off of ‘small wide’ as you can’t get the ground clearance,” said Manley. “It was completely changed by Jeep engineers so now it’s ‘small wide 4x4’ architecture.”

However, no platform currently exists that would allow Jeep to build a smaller SUV than Renegade, which would mean further engineering challenges for Jeep, possibly using the next-generation Fiat 500 platform as a base.

A baby Jeep would enable the brand to lower its CO2 output in the face of increased legislative pressure. “There’s relentless pressure to reduce CO2 and there’s much more for us to do,” said Manley. “We’re trying to stay away from complexity and improvements are slowly coming.”

Volkswagen has already shown its Taigun baby SUV, based on the VW up!, which is widely tipped to go into production in 2016.

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