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Fiat puts small Jeep on hold to replace Sedici

by Bill Cawthon on

Automotive News is reporting that the small Jeep slated for production in Fiat’s Mirafiori plant in Turin has been bumped back a year to allow Fiat to get its own version of the “B-SUV,” as it’s known inside the company, into production earlier.

Fiat needs the new vehicle to replace its Sedici. The Sedici was developed jointly by Fiat and Suzuki and introduced in 2006. It’s a clone of the Suzuki SX4 that’s sold in the United States but the Fiat version is built in the Suzuki plant in Esztergom, Hungary. The Sedici received a mild facelift for this year but sales are falling: in 2011, volume dropped 10 percent to 14,000 units.

Fiat announced it will postpone the planned upgrades at the Mirafiori plant until late 2013. Mirafiori will continue to build the Alfa Romeo MiTo and Lancia Musa.

Production of the junior Jeep is now scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2014.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for just-auto.com, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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