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B-SUV (Mini-Cherokee) heads for USA

by David Zatz on

compact Jeep B-SUV

Mike Manley, CEO of Jeep, told reporters that a new compact Jeep, part of the brand’s attempt to re-establish itself in India and other nations, would be coming to the United States. While the “B-SUV” has been on Chrysler’s schedule since the Five Year Plan of 2009, reporters have speculated that it might not be sold in North America.

The new Jeep will be “4.2 meters long,” or around 165 inches, which is 16 inches shorter, bumper to bumper, than the 2014 Jeep Cherokee. That would make it roughly the exterior size of the 1987-2001 Jeep Cherokee “XJ,” and considerably longer than the original Jeep, which was 132 inches long.  A diesel is expected for Europe and India, but not the U.S.

The Fiat 500L, which is quite spacious for a compact, is 167 inches long. The Jeep Patriot, which is due to be replaced next year, runs to 174 inches.

Nagesh Basavanahalli, Managing Director of Chrysler India Automotive, told IndianAutosBlog:

Because it’s [brand new] and because the work is just beginning and a lot of the things are on the drawing board, I would not like to get into the details. A lot of options are taken into consideration.

The Jeep platform is very special to us. The Jeep customer has unique tastes: go anywhere, do anything, be available. Right? So taking a look at the global requirements of the Jeep, because it’s going to be a global product, it’s going to be done up for several parts of the world … But the bottom line is it will be a true Jeep. It will be a Jeep, and it will be on the right platform. (Read the full interview)

IndianAutosBlog managing editor Shrawan Raja told us that the “B-Jeep” would not be a restyled Fiat; and a two-year delay acknowledged this morning in the Chrysler five year plan update supports this theory. The two-year delay would be explained if the original plan was to use a lightly modified Fiat, but Jeep successfully argued for increased uniqueness. Allpar’s “RVC” wrote that it shares Fiat’s SUSW platform (core hard-point dimensions) with Fiat 500L, but will have a unique architecture, including different suspension designs. He said, “Jeep insisted on was a unique architecture.”

“Bran” wrote in January 2013 that it would be around eight inches shorter than Patriot, two feet longer than Fiat Panda.

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