Currently reading: Geneva motor show 2011: Jeep plans 'supermini SUV'
Jeep is set to offer a supermini-sized ‘B-segment’ SUV by 2013

The Chrysler Group’s 4x4 brand Jeep will broaden its model offering in 2013 to include a supermini-sized ‘B-segment’ SUV.

Jeep’s CEO Mike Manley told Autocar at the Geneva motor show “there’s definitely space in the market for a Jeep-brand B-segment SUV. We’re already working on a project that will meet that need, and expect to have the car on the road by 2013.”

Brit Manley suggested that Chrysler’s alliance with Fiat would be critical to providing engines and mechanicals for the rugged hatchback. Fiat’s 1.3- and 1.6-litre JDTm diesel engines, and it’s 1.4-litre MultiAir petrols, are favourite to power the car, most commonly with front-wheel drive; Fiat’s Grande Punto platform is likely to be adapted to underpin the car. However, the availability of four-wheel drive on range-topping models was described by Manley as “an absolute necessity.”

The new Jeep is likely to ape premium superminis like the Mini Cooper and Audi A1 with the length of its options list and the extent to which it can be customised to suit any taste. However, what Manley refers to as ‘the Wrangler bloodline’ will be very evident in the styling of the crossover hatchback: “imagine a slightly softer and smaller updated version of the Wrangler’s iconic grille and headlight design and you’ll have a good idea of how its front-end should look,” he said.

Jeep will hope that the new car can steal some of the success that the Nissan Juke is currently tapping into in the UK and around Europe, as well as attracting some younger clientele to the Jeep brand.

“It could be a breakthrough car in the US market as well,” said Manley. “At the moment, there’s little precedent for a subcompact SUVs selling in big numbers in North America, but we think that a car with the power of the Jeep brand behind it could be really popular.”

“I’ve already reviewed some designs for the car, and I’m very excited,” Manley went on. “This is going to be a very special car for us.”

Matt Saunders


Matt Saunders

Matt Saunders Autocar
Title: Road test editor

As Autocar’s chief car tester and reviewer, it’s Matt’s job to ensure the quality, objectivity, relevance and rigour of the entirety of Autocar’s reviews output, as well contributing a great many detailed road tests, group tests and drive reviews himself.

Matt has been an Autocar staffer since the autumn of 2003, and has been lucky enough to work alongside some of the magazine’s best-known writers and contributors over that time. He served as staff writer, features editor, assistant editor and digital editor, before joining the road test desk in 2011.

Since then he’s driven, measured, lap-timed, figured, and reported on cars as varied as the Bugatti Veyron, Rolls-Royce PhantomTesla RoadsterAriel Hipercar, Tata Nano, McLaren SennaRenault Twizy and Toyota Mirai. Among his wider personal highlights of the job have been covering Sebastien Loeb’s record-breaking run at Pikes Peak in 2013; doing 190mph on derestricted German autobahn in a Brabus Rocket; and driving McLaren’s legendary ‘XP5’ F1 prototype. His own car is a trusty Mazda CX-5.

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