Jeep plans to reveal its replacement for the Compass and Patriot SUVs in Brazil this fall and plans to show the vehicle for the first time in North America at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November.
The Jeep that will replace the two aging compact SUVs has been anticipated for several years and is the next phase of Jeep’s global growth plan to top 1.9 million in annual sales by 2018. Fiat Chrysler originally planned to reveal the vehicle at the New York International Auto Show in March, but those plans were scrubbed.
“There has been no delay in terms of our production cadence,” Mike Manley, head of the Jeep and Ram brand for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, said today. “Because it is a global vehicle … as I got into the year, I felt it was more appropriate for us to celebrate that in Brazil.”
Manley spoke to reporters Thursday in Chelsea at the company’s proving grounds where the automaker hosted hundreds of journalists and analysts and gave them a chance to drive the company’s latest cars and trucks, including the Fiat 124 Spider that goes on sale this month and the Chrysler Pacifica minivan that began to reach dealers in big numbers in May.
Jeep’s global resurgence began several years ago with the overhaul of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and was followed by the return of the Cherokee in 2013 and has evolved as the automaker began building its compact Renegade at plants in Italy, China and Brazil last year.
Last year, Jeep sold 118,464 Patriots and 66,698 Compasses in the U.S., or about 21% of the brand’s total sales in the U.S.
Despite those big numbers, both SUVs are widely viewed as subpar vehicles that represent the last vestiges of Chrysler’s bad years when it was starved for money by prior owners Daimler AG and Cerberus Capital Management. The Compass and Patriot debuted in 2006. While they are capable of going off-road, they are outperformed when it comes to space, styling and fuel economy by today’s modern small crossovers.
FCA is planning to replace the Compass and Patriot with a single model but has not announced the name.
“The name has been decided,” Manley said. “It will be called Compass or Patriot.”
Now, the automaker plans to reveal the new Jeep at its plant in Pernambuco, Brazil, sometime between late September and early November when production begins. The vehicles produced at that plant will be sold in South America.
The automaker plans to begin building the new Jeep later this year at that plant alongside the compact Jeep Renegade, which is already made there. Versions of the vehicle that will be made at that plant will be sold in South America.
Versions of the new Jeep SUV that will be sold in North America will be built at the automaker’s plant in Toluca, Mexico. Manley said they’ll go on sale in the U.S. early next year.
Manley also said the development of the next generation Jeep Wrangler is nearly complete, and it will be revealed during the first half of 2017.
The new Wrangler will weigh less and get better fuel economy than the current Wrangler.
FCA will build the new Wrangler in Toledo, in the same plant complex where the current version is produced. However, the company also will move the Cherokee from Toledo to Belvidere, Ill., giving the automaker additional production capacity.