US-bred SUV manufacturer unveils five-year expansion strategy with emphasis on new models, a wider manufacturing base and an improved dealer network

Jeep president and chief executive Mike Manley has laid out plans to increase the brand’s global sales from 732,000 vehicles to almost 2 million by 2018. The highlights of the strategy are two brand new models, including a large SUV that will carry the revived Grand Wagoneer nameplate.

Manley unveiled the details of the plan at the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Investor Day meeting in Auburn Hills, Michigan, today (Tuesday).

Jeep was the best-selling SUV brand in the world until 1990, but a flood of new manufacturers and models in the still-growing segment means it currently ranks sixth in the world and third in its core North American market.

The quirky Jeep Renegade gets put through its paces on our thorough road test

However, the manufacturer set its own sales records in 2012 and 2013, and last month enjoyed its highest monthly sales ever in its 73-year history, selling 85,000 units around the world. The encouraging growth has prompted the company to reset its sales aspirations for the current year from 800,000 vehicles to 1 million.

Jeep is now intent on capitalising on an ever-growing appetite for SUVs, with the segment predicted to grow by six per cent from 14 million sales in 2013 to 18m in 2018.

Manley said the company’s objective now is “to reverse the downward trend [in North America] and to accelerate growth internationally” and “to return Jeep to the number one SUV brand in the world”.

He identified four key elements of Jeep’s growth strategy. The major element is an expansion of the brand, with Jeep will set to its range with a number of new offerings during the next five years.

This expansion will begin with Jeep’s new B-segment SUV, the Renegade, due in the UK next year. In 2016 – the company’s 75th anniversary – a new C-segment vehicle will appear in place of the current Patriot and Compass, while the current Jeep Cherokee will be refreshed in the same year.

All-new versions of the Jeep Wrangler and Grand Cherokee are due in 2017, when the Renegade will be refreshed. Then in 2018 Jeep will reintroduce its Grand Wagoneer nameplate as the largest vehicle in its range.

Manley outlined the other three growth elements as “proactive lifecycle management” of individual models, as well as “expansion of manufacturing globally and continued development of Jeep’s distribution infrastructure”.

The number of Jeep dealerships, he explained, would increase from 4706 to 6023 over the next five years, with the largest expansions taking place in the Latin American and Asia-Pacific regions.

Jeep will move from building five models in one country to building six models in six countries, added Manley. By 2018 it is expected that almost half of Jeep’s output will be built outside of North America.

Manley vowed that Jeep would remain true to its roots, both by offering rugged off-road models in its line-up and also by continuing to stand for “the authentic SUV with class-leading capability, craftsmanship and versatility for people who seek extraordinary journeys”. 

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6 May 2014
We all know the growing global demand for SUVs but the Jeep forecasting to see its sales rise by 150% in less than four years is overly optimistic.

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