How Much Smaller Will the Jeep Go?

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Pictured: Jeep Patriot

While nearly every mainstream nameplate offers a small runabout suited for urban and city use, Jeep (FIATY.PK) has remained a conspicuous exception to the rule, as it has brought its off-road heritage and DNA into virtually every vehicle that it produces. Reportedly though, this could all change relatively soon.

Edmunds is reporting that Jeep has plans for a new, small CUV — or crossover utility vehicle — that will hit showrooms next year and will be about the size of a Ford (NYSE:F) Fiesta. Jeep CEO Mike Manley shed some light on the project. The car, which is yet to be named, will be assembled in Italy and marketed globally.

“The weight of that market today is outside North America, predominately Europe,” said Manley. “It is growing in China. I think when we launch our SUV here, you are going to see quite significant growth in that segment in the U.S.”

The vehicle will be aimed at Ford’s Fiesta-based EcoSport CUV, which has recently launched in India to rather significant success. The global crossover market has seen phenomenal gains recently, and with Jeep’s parent Fiat’s substantial international network, the Italian firm wants to push the new Jeep on countries around the world.

A smaller Jeep would also provide the company some reprieve from the stringent CAFE standards that put increasing pressure on manufacturers to develop smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles. The new model will offer the utility you’d expect from an SUV, but in a fuel-sipping, more city friendly package, at least according to Manley.

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