Although Fiat came to Chrysler's rescue several years ago, the partnership's American side is coming to the aid of the old country, leveraging the global popularity of the Jeep brand in particular to more effectively utilize the surplus production capacity at Fiat's plants in Italy. An aggressive global export plan will see plants in Italy, Serbia and Turkey dedicate 15 percent of their capacity to building models destined for export, according to Automotive News.
Sharing its platform with the recently-launched Fiat 500L, Fiat is targeting total production of 280,000 units, 150,000 of them the new Jeep model, and 130,000 of them the Fiat. The small SUV segment is expected to grow from 154,461 in 2012 to 500,000 in 2015.
Jeep brand CEO Mike Manley has ambitious sales goals for the new model, believing its combination of style, features and fuel economy will not only be popular with SUV shoppers, but may even lure buyers out of B and C-segment hatchbacks and sedans, saying he believes buyers will see it as a "competitive alternative." Production is expected to begin on the Jeep model in June 2014, with production on the Fiat model three months later.
Source: Automotive News (subscription required)