Jeep Pickup, Jeep Compass and Jeep Renegade: All The Things We'll Probably Hear Tomorrow From Sergio

Aaron Cole
by Aaron Cole

On Wednesday, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne will update investors on his long-term plans and fourth-quarter profits — namely, how many Jeeps it sold — during his scheduled earnings conference call.

It’s widely expected that Sergio will address the near-certainty that Jeep will build a pickup based on the Wrangler, as well as the future for the Jeep Compass that’ll likely survive from the Patriot/Compass twin billing, and Jeep’s potential to keep afloat fledgling FCA brands such as Maserati and Alfa Romeo.

Analysts say FCA’s ambitious target of $5 billion profit by 2018 would be almost unattainable at this point.

“‘Ambitious’ is not really an adequate word to describe it, ‘fantasyland’ might be more appropriate,” Bernstein’s Max Warburton told Automotive News.

Automotive News correctly points out FCA’s missteps in BRIC territories that could haunt them. (Although not having a manufacturing presence in Russia could have saved them enormous cash for the time being.)

Profits in Latin American countries are way, way down, according to the Wall Street Journal, and FCA’s belated big bet on Brazil with Jeep and luxury cars could compound their headache to catch up to Ford and General Motors in the region. FCA’s operating profit in Brazil fell by 83 percent over the last two years, according to WSJ.

More than 95 percent of FCA’s sales in Brazil were from its Fiat brand, including compact and subcompact models that comprise nearly 60 percent of new car sales in Brazil. The Jeep Renegade was built specifically with emerging markets in mind — including Brazil-only powertrains — and has been slow to catch on.

“Selling the Renegade in Brazil presumes the middle class will grow and will ask for different cars than the small ones that dominate now,” Monica Bosio, an analyst with Intesa Sanpaolo, told WSJ. “It’s not a given that will happen.”

Only last year Jeep returned to China to build cars, starting with the Cherokee.

Those fledgling attempts in growing markets could increase pressure on FCA to maximize profits Stateside, which has been fairly limited to Jeep so far.

Although Marchionne ruled out a possible merger with General Motors — or any other similarly sized automaker — last year, analysts still say that FCA would need to court an alliance with another manufacturer to remain viable or sustain any type of global economic downturn.

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  • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Jan 27, 2016

    Jeep has increased sales in the global market. But, how far can FCA reach with Jeep? Jeep is not a revered product outside of the main Allies of WWII. Jeep is only a huge name in the US. It is known outside of the US, but I think FCA will pushing sh!t up hill to have Jeep become a huge success. Brazil highlights this with it's Jeep sales. The best bet for Jeep is to produce an even longer wheelbase version of the 4 door Wrangler with the VM 2.8 and sell it as a single an dual cab pickup/cab chassis out side of NA. I do believe even here in Australia Jeep would sell a significant number of live axled extra long wheelbase Wrangler utes. Other than the 70 Series Landcruisers, live axle off road vehicles are becoming quite rare. Jeep must also undercut it's opposition in pricing to move the Jeep pickups. In Australia even the Grand Cherokee is a "cheap" SUV offering compared to it's competition. Jeep also needs to work on it's hit and miss quality/reliability.

  • Omnifan Omnifan on Jan 27, 2016

    Poor quality/reliability is the first thing folks forget when the vehicle is in a hot market segment and gas is $1.26/gallon. Now, can someone explain where all the old Hummers were hiding when gas was $4. they seem to crawling out of the woodwork now.

  • Vap65689119 As a release engineer I also worked in quality, if they are serious they should look at Toyotas business model which has their suppliers as genuine partners, thats how you get a quality product
  • Mike-NB2 I seem to have landed in an alternate universe. $12,000 for a Jeep that's going on a quarter-century old and with an automatic transmission? Wow.
  • Stuart de Baker This driver wants physical knobs and buttons that are easy to use while keeping eyes on the road, and does not want effin screens that require eyeballs to be taken off of roads, mfgs be damned.
  • Tassos 25 years old, 200k miles, $12,000 devalued worthless Biden Dollars?Hard pass.
  • GrumpyOldMan Lost me at the last word of the second paragraph.