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Jeep confirms next models

Are you not entertained: Jeep’s next-generation Wrangler has been confirmed to spawn a ute, which could look similar to the Gladiator concept (pictured) from 2012.

Next-gen Wrangler ute and Compass/Patriot replacement confirmed by Jeep US chief

Jeep logo24 Jun 2016

By TIM ROBSON

JEEP has confirmed the impending arrival of two more products – a next-generation Wrangler-based ute and a replacement for its ageing Compass and Patriot mid-size SUVs – which will bolster its US portfolio and are expected to hit Australia in the coming years.

The long-awaited successor to the Compass and Patriot will debut in Brazil in September, according to Jeep CEO Mike Manley, before appearing at this year’s Los Angeles Motor Show in November.

Mr Manley, who was speaking at the company’s annual new product round-up at its Chelsea, Michigan proving ground, also confirmed the timing of the Wrangler-based pick-up that is set to debut on the 4x4’s new platform in early 2018.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Australia product specialist Callum Maynes flew to the US last month where he viewed the C-SUV for the first time.

“It's absolutely stunning,” he told GoAuto. “It looks absolutely fantastic.

It's a mix of Jeep DNA and a progression of what we've got in Compass and Patriot.

“As for the name, they've confirmed it will be either Compass or Patriot, but I don't even know which one it will be, but we're certainty excited.”

Mr Maynes confirmed that the vehicle will make it to Australia, and suggested that the reaction to the new design direction will be strong.

“The MK (Patriot) has been a hugely successful program for us, and it's almost kind of one of the platforms that relaunched Jeep a few years ago in Australia to give us the volume that we're at today,” he said.

“So we're very excited to bring you a new car. It's kind of unified by those two name plates, and it will give us a really strong foothold in that sense.”

The new mid-size SUV will also suit the tastes of Australians, according to Mr Maynes.

“It's a very progressive, very Jeep (design), and from my point of view, I think it looks fantastic,” he said. “It's one of the best looking vehicles we've produced.

“You just have to look at our current line-up to see where the styling will fit, but it is a fusion of the designs we've got out there at the moment.”

While the next-gen Wrangler-based ute has been confirmed for a 2018 debut, Mr Maynes verified that FCA Australia is still keen for the new model.

“We've confirmed in the past that Wrangler for us has been no secret, we've had our hand up that for a long time, and I think you just got to look at the Jeep brand DNA and how we can extend that it's certainty a white space opportunity for us,” said Mr Maynes.

“There is a huge demand for combining a pickup with the tool of trade with something you can use on the weekends. It's been confirmed before by (FCA Australia president and CEO) Pat Dougherty and (director of marketing and product strategy) Zac Loo that we've had our hand up for that, so we're certainty interested.”

Discussion around offshoots from the next Grand Cherokee platform have included potential plans for a compact SUV that would sit below the Fiat 500X-based Renegade.

Mr Maynes said it was far too early to comment on whether such a car would make it to Australia, but it would be looked at as part of the overall brand picture.

“We will assess everything that we can look at and determine based on all the characteristics what we think will work, where we can position it, what will resonate with buyers,” he said.

“I mean, all I can say on that is look at the market. Australia is a fusion of the Europe and the US, and if something would work for Australia it could be kind of tailored to those environments, and we'll continue to look at it, but it's a business basis that's continually being looked at.

“We don't even know, at least from out point of view, what the car would look like or anything like that. So it's very preliminary from our point of view.”

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