Speaking to journalists at the Paris Motor Show, Jeep’s ever-enthusiastic global boss Mike Manley admitted the company needs a compact (B-segment) SUV to tackle European hot-sellers like the Ford Ecosport and Nissan Juke.
Jeep being Jeep, there’s no ignoring the off-road capability factor and Mr Manley didn’t shy-away from the challenges confronting a mini-SUV with Jeep toughness – starting with packaging.
But, perhaps enthused by the international success of the Jeep Renegade (pictured, top of page, which shares its underpinning with the Fiat 500X), Mr Manley seemed positive the ‘baby’ Jeep will get the green light once the usual feasibility studies are complete.
We’ve heard Jeep India is working on its own mini SUV for the domestic market there – some going as far as saying the Indian Jeep will be made at the local Fiat plant in Ranjangaon, which also makes the new Jeep Compass.
Indian media has published computer generated images of the so-called ‘Jeep 526’ and ‘Jeep 556/551’ and suggested an overall length of 526 (the mini SUV) of under 4.0-metres and launch as early as 2018.
And, the reports indicate a smaller 1.5-litre four-cylinder diesel will be the propulsion.
Jeep 556/551 is said to be a mid-size SUV for India to take-on the likes of Toyota Fortuner.
To get to the bottom of all this we might need to take the likeable Mr Manley out for some relaxing liquid refreshment next time he visits Australia.