Buyers hankering for a more macho alternative to the Buick Encore won’t have to wait too long for something to fill that void. According to Edmunds, an all-new Jeep, similar in size to the Encore, will debut next year.
The Jeep Compass and Patroit will both die in 2014 to make room for a B-segment Jeep built in Italy using a Fiat platform. The most likely donor will be the Small Wide architecture being used for the Fiat 500L, which has provisions for an all-wheel drive system built in to it. It’s a safe bet that it will be very similar to the Fiat 500X (above). Jeep’s Mike Manley cited global markets as the driving force behind this product
“The weight of that market today is outside North America, predominately Europe,” said Manley. “It is growing in China. I think when we launch our SUV here, you are going to see quite significant growth in that segment in the U.S.”
As Manley notes, the small SUV segment is explosive in world markets. Most of the examples sold are two-wheel drive car based vehicles with zero off-road capability, but Europeans couldn’t care less. That means the whole “Trail Rated” business won’t be an issue in Europe, but the Jeep faithful here may have something to say about that.