On May 6, 2014, the Los Angeles Times reported that Fiat-Chrysler executives unveiled a new business plan to claim $1.9 million in auto sales over the next five years. The plan takes advantage of the Jeep brand as the cornerstone of the Chrysler group’s offerings. To reach this ambitious goal, Jeep must double its annual sales.
The LA Times reports that Jeep plans to open plants in Europe, China, and South America and build almost 1 million vehicles outside of the United States. They also plan to market these vehicles in the countries in which they are made.
Expanded Product Lines
A key part of this business plan is the expansion of Jeep’s product line. They plan to add Jeep vehicles of all shapes and sizes to keep up with growing markets both in the United States and in other countries like Brazil and China.
Mike Manley, head of the Jeep department, said that he wants Jeep to offer vehicles that will appeal to every taste and need. “Jeep spirit is something that we believe lives inside everybody. Our job is to reach inside and pull that spirit to the surface,” said Manley, as reported by Autoweek.
Jeep Grand Wagoneer
Jeep plans to reintroduce a larger, three-row sports utility vehicle called the Jeep Grand Wagoneer. According to Topspeed, the production of the Grand Wagoneer was phased out in 1991 because of stiff competition and slow sales, but it will be back better than ever.
This vehicle will offer seating for seven and become one of the largest vehicles offered by Chrysler group. The Grand Wagoneer will debut in 2018 as a luxurious SUV designed to compete with the the like of the Infiniti QX60 and the Lexus GX.
According to the New York Times, one of subcompact vehicles in the works is the Jeep Renegade, which will be released to showrooms for sales to the public early in 2015. This vehicle is designed to appeal to a younger demographic than some of the other Jeep offerings with improved gas mileage and off-road capabilities.
The Jeep Cherokee, after a hiatus of more than a decade, was put back in production for 2014. However, with the new business plan, the Jeep Cherokee will soon get a new look. Executives announced that the Jeep Cherokee will be completely redesigned for 2018, according to the Detroit Free Press.
According to Autonews, the Cherokee is not the only classic Jeep vehicle to get an overhaul. The Jeep Wrangler will be redesigned for its 2017 debut.
The company plans to give the Wrangler a new, aerodynamic look, improve its engineering and efficiency and reduce the Wrangler’s weight. Mike Manley promised that the changes would not affect the Wrangler’s off-road capabilities.
A Replacement for the Patriot and the Compass
Manley also mentioned that the small SUVs Patriot and Compass will be replaced by a single crossover SUV. This vehicle is as of now still unnamed, but, according to the LA Times, it will be released in 2018, the 75th anniversary of the Jeep brand.
Expansion Outside of North America
Jeep hopes to achieve its sales goals mainly by marketing to areas outside of North America. As reported by the LA Times, Chrysler executives can maximize their profits and avoid tariffs by manufacturing in the same country in which that they want to sell.
Jeep leaders recently divulged that they had closed a manufacturing deal with Guangzhou Automobile Group in China to build mid-sized Cherokee SUVs and Jeep Renegades specifically for the Chinese market. Jeep executives also have their eyes on the automobile market in South America, especially in Brazil. Currently, Jeep has very few autos on the road in Brazil, but they hope to expand sales of the Renegade and Compass there by building a manufacturing plant.
Altogether, Fiat-Chrysler plans to open six new factories in South America, Asia, and Europe. However, according to Autoweek, production capacity for North American factories will also have to increase by 200,000 units per year.
According to Fox Business News, the CEO of Fiat Chrysler, Sergio Marchionne, said that the new business plan was “much more than a new chapter” for the company. Analysts predict that the new plan will position Fiat-Chrysler to be a mainstream competitor for large auto makers like Ford and GM.