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Jeep Renegade won't be 'cheap and cheerful'

Jeep and cheerful: Jeep’s new Renegade won't be the most affordable offering in the B-segment but people will be willing to pay says the company.

Continuing focus on quality and on-road ability will draw more customers, says Jeep

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Jeep logo9 Feb 2015

By DANIEL GARDNER in SAN JOSE

JEEP is yet to announce Australian pricing for its all-new Renegade small SUV but the American car-maker says it won't compete in the bottom end of the market with “cheap and cheerful” offerings.

Due to arrive in October this year, Jeep's newcomer is unlikely to be priced to do battle in the entry-level low-$20,000 market, and instead will aim higher up the segment at more prestigious options including the Volkswagen Tiguan and Subaru’s XV.

At the United States launch of the crossover, Jeep confirmed the Renegade would be priced under its bigger Cherokee brother as expected, but would offer “something else” and at a “reasonable” price.

That could place the entry level Renegade at about the $23,000 mark with top of the range Trailhawk at about the $34,000 mark.

Speaking at the global Renegade first drive, Jeep international product planning manager Adrian Van Campenhout told GoAuto pricing was crucial in the Australian market but it wouldn’t offer an inferior product just to compete at the cheapest end of the scale.

“The thing about the Australian market is that we know that it is very price sensitive,” he said. “Even bringing a brand in that has the pride and passion that we have, we understand that there is a significant portion of the market that is for customers looking for something cheap and cheerful.

“We need to find ways to have good advertisable products that are reasonable and then allow the customer to come into the showroom and see the great potential in our products. We have to capture the customer’s imagination both from the visuals and the price point.

“When you’re going against a lot of cheap and cheerful vehicles that resonate with the consumer we have to have something else. That was a challenge.” Mr Van Campenhout said the same approach was applied to the latest Cherokee which carries a price premium over some cheaper competitors but offers features its rivals can’t match.

“Look at what we do with the Cherokee - yes I could put a two-speed PTU in it and go up a tree, or I have a very good on-road vehicle,” he said. “That recipe has been applied to what we saw today.

“That was one of the challenges from a product planning stand point in Australia - to identify the ways to craft a vehicle that was going to be robust in terms of kit and then have a price that would have customers saying 'I always knew that Jeep was good and that’s a reasonable thing for me to go and look at'.” Mr Van Campenhout said the company was persevering with the process of improving quality, with particular attention to on-road manner, and added that this would entice customers to the range, even if it costs more than the competition.

“The first one comes out (Cherokee) and they say 'I see it but I don’t believe it'. The second one comes out (Renegade) and there is a reinforcement,” he said.

“The customer continues to trust what we’re doing, especially in Australia. We are still growing as a brand in the Australian market and there is more opportunity out there.” The Jeep Renegade will arrive on Australian shores later this year with three variants on offer, starting with a 1.6-litre, a mid-range 1.4-litre turbo and a top-end 2.4-litre, with a combination of auto, manual and two- or four-wheel drive options.

Exact specification and the crucial pricing will be announced closer to the local launch date.

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