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Jeep plotting hatch-based SUV

2011-03-08 11:32

NOT SO GRAND: The upcoming new Jeep will take it a down several notches from the new Grand Cherokee flagship model pictured. It will, instead, be based on a Fiat hatchback.

Jeep is preparing to introduce a new small SUV based on a hatchback from alliance partner Fiat into its line-up.  

While Jeep is well known for its long history of mud-plugging SUV's, the American brand is apparently keen to add something smaller to its range.

Autocar reported from the sidelines of the Geneva auto show that Jeep CEO Mike Manley said “there’s definitely space in the market for a Jeep brand B-segment SUV”.

Manley suggested that Jeep would lean heavily on its alliance with Fiat for engines and mechanicals for the hatchback-based SUV and added the vehicle would be on the market by 2013.

Fiat’s Grande Punto platform was expected to underpin the car, which would use a selection of petrol and turbodiesel engines from the Italian automaker. Front-wheel drive will be standard, although Manley described all-wheel drive on flagship models to be “an absolute necessity”.

Manley indicated the new model’s look could resemble a “softer and smaller" version of the Wrangler’s classic grille-and-headlights design.

Jeep hopes the new car will challenge the success of the new Nissan Juke while attracting a younger buyer to the Jeep brand.

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