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Logo JeepFiat has just announced that production in Italy of the first Jeep is planned to start in July this year.

Fiat Group Automobiles plans to build the Jeep CUV at the rate of 150,000 units per year.
The news has been released after a plan for the training of the staff that will be assembling the new CUV at Fiat's Melfi plant has been presented to the local unions. The training program starts on March 3rd.
The factory, which will continue production of the current Fiat Punto range on two of the three shifts, will also produce some 120,000 units per year of the Fiat 500X, the twin of the new CUV

Unofficial sources have confirmed to me that «The Small Jeep» will be named Renegade when it is unveiled at the Geneva show in "concept" form next week. The "concept" suffix is a must for all cars not for public sale exhibited at the Swiss motor show, according to regulations.
Fiat is committed to keep under strict embargo the name and official pictures.
However, despite the "concept" label and the beautifying treatment for the show, the new Jeep Renegade will indeed reflect the actual car.
The new Jeep will positioned in the profitable but very competitive market segment of the European sized CUV, and aims primarily at the upcoming new generation of Mini Countryman, as well as the second generation Nissan Qashqai, that is debuting in Geneva as well. Not to mention the Ford Kuga, Volkswagen Tiguan and Toyota RAV IV, all well established and successful.

The size of the Jeep Renegade should reflect the body structure of the Fiat 500 Living, that is 4350 mm long, 1780 mm. Wide and 1660 mm. High. The Renegade will sit on bigger wheels and will have a slightly higher ground clearance.
Despite its brand name the Jeep Renegade is not going to be a real off-roader and indeed it will be available, in Qashqai style, also in front wheel drive only version.

However, unlike the Fiat 500L, the Jeep (and the 500X) will share the (C-wide, Alfa Romeo Giulietta) platform and technique of the new Jeep Cherokee, with the renowned 9 speed automatic transmission to be available as an optional.  Because of its smaller size, the Renegade should not enter the sale territory of the Cherokee that is taller and is some 300 mm longer and 80 mm wider.
The different weight and powerplants will also set the two new Jeeps apart, with the Renegade remaining under the 2.0 litre displacement (diesel) barrier. The 1.4 litre turbocharged petrol engine is reported to reflect the European setting, limiting the output to some 90 kW for optimal fuel economy and minimal emissions.

Giancarlo Perini (c){jcomments on}