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Compass vital in supercharging Jeep’s global sales
The second international model after the Renegade must establish Jeep globally
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25 Nov 2016
By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS in LOS ANGELES
JEEP says that the all-new Compass medium SUV is essential in its desire to become a truly global brand, as it will compete against some of the biggest players internationally such as the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5.
Unveiled at the Los Angeles motor show last week, the second-generation Jeep Compass has been designed and engineered to have the widest possible appeal of any vehicle to come from the iconic American 4x4 brand.
Unlike its 2006-vintage predecessor, which was built in Illinois, the 2018 Compass will be manufactured in Brazil, Mexico, China and India, and not in the United States.
The only other Jeep to follow that path is the closely related Renegade small SUV, which is sourced from Italy for global consumption.
“Compass is not do-or-die, but it’s a very important vehicle for us”, according to the global head of the Jeep brand, Mike Manley, speaking to Australian journalists at last week’s LA show.
“Today we have 22 per cent of that segment in the US with two vehicles (the outgoing Compass and its Patriot fraternal twin), and we’re replacing it with one, so it’s got a big challenge to maintain that. But if you look at our penetration in the C-SUV segment around the world outside of the US, it’s incredibly low.
“So, really, it’s a big opportunity, but if we get it right, it will fuel our growth going into 2017 and 2018, but it’s not do-or-die, but we want to approach it that way.
“No doubt (it is our most international model ever). It’s going to be built in four locations around the world, it’s going to be specifically targeted to some of the biggest markets around the world, and it builds on Renegade. I’d say Renegade is our first global vehicle, and this one is now the next.”
All up, 17 different powertrain combinations have been developed for the new Compass, with many of them – such as the front-drive 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbo front-driver with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission – devised specifically for one market (China in this case).
Conversely, US and Canadian buyers have a 2.4-litre four-cylinder atmo unit in either six-speed auto (FWD) or nine-speed auto (AWD) configurations, while two super-frugal turbo-diesel engines will spearhead the series’ entry into the European regions.
Australia will most likely score both the 1.4-turbo and 2.4-atmo variants.
In a similar way, the noise, vibration and harshness advances that the latest Compass introduces reflects the higher refinement expectations demanded by European consumers.
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