The new subcompact Jeep, developed in India and Auburn Hills, will be called Jeepster, according to multiple sources, including an Australian dealer who saw the car.
The name, taken from a classic Willys-Overland car intended to expand Jeep beyond farmers, postal workers, and a small number of enthusiasts, has been applied to at least one concept of the 1990s, and had been rumored for over a year to be attached to the “BU”-coded mini-SUV.
Jeepster was codeveloped with the Fiat 500X crossover, and is based on existing, but reportedly heavily modified, Fiat dimensions and architectures. The vehicle reportedly took longer than planned to create, as Jeep executives insisted on higher capabilities than the original plans could provide. Many observers expect it to at least match KL Cherokee’s off-road capacity, which has been praised by numerous off-road magazine writers.
The car is now expected to be unveiled in the Geneva (Europe) auto show during calendar-year 2014. It is to be built in Italy, at a Fiat plant, and sold mainly in Europe and Asia, with possible exports to North America as well. Brazil is expected to produce its own version. A Fiat four-cylinder diesel is certain to power the Jeepster in Europe and India, likely alongside a Fiat four-cylinder gasoline engine; powertrains for North America are still a matter of conjecture. It will not be the first Jeep to be built outside the United States and imported in; before Chrysler purchased AMC, Wranglers were built in Canada for seven years, rather than in Ohio.
Update: Chrysler has applied for a trademark on the Jeepster name in Europe. The company already owned the trademark in the United States, dating from 2006.