75-year history, Jeep has never been in better shape than it is right now

Automotive

Published on July 23rd, 2016 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez

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75-year history, Jeep has never been in better shape than it is right now

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The reason? Current owner Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has accomplished what a succession of previous owners only dreamed of: truly globalizing one of the world’s most storied automotive brands.

Worldwide, Jeep’s deliveries in 2015 topped 1.2 million vehicles, its 4th consecutive record year for global production and sales.

Jeep Renegades are now built in Europe (Italy), South America (Brazil) and Asia (China) for sale in those regional markets. By the end of the year, production of the replacement for the Jeep Compass will begin in Brazil and China, as well as Mexico. Jeep-branded vehicles also will soon begin rolling into India, with local production slated to begin in 2017.

Meanwhile, sales in Jeep’s largest and most profitable market, the United States, are up 17% through June over record 2015 sales.Jeep’s lineup also is expanding. Brand head Mike Manley said last month that luxury full-size SUVs under the storied Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer names will return with the development of a redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee in 2019. On the other end of the size spectrum, a micro-segment Jeep, smaller than the Renegade, is under strong consideration, primarily for markets outside North America.

Meanwhile, FCA is expanding production capacity of its profit-rich Wrangler by at least 50 percent, allowing the brand to fulfill what it sees as unmet domestic and international demand. The added capacity also will allow for the return of a pickup to the Jeep lineup for the first time since 1996.

CEO Sergio Marchionne says Jeep is the engine that keeps his company going, no matter how tough the economic circumstances become.

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