Tomorrow, the Jeep Renegade will make its official North American debut in a live, streaming press conference at the New York Auto Show. Of course, this is just a formality. The Jeep Renegade was already showcased at last month’s Geneva Auto Show (thanks for selling out
Fiat Jeep; keep your debuts here in America!), where it turned heads with its surprising subcompact design.
The vehicle, which will be on sale later this year, features a nine speed automatic transmission for improved fuel economy, as well as a choice between four-cylinder engines: the turbocharged 1.4 liter 160 horsepower engine or the larger non-turbocharged 2.4 liter 184 horsepower engine. Personally, I was more intrigued by the concept Renegade, which will unfortunately never be released (see photo right).
While some have scoffed at the new “European-styled” Jeep, Jeep CEO Mike Manley has indicated that he wanted to make a break from old designs like the Cherokee.
In a recent USA Today article, he was quoted as saying, “I have always said the Cherokee styling does not necessarily indicate where the Jeep brand is going. I think this is a classic Jeep. I think this is what we wanted to create in this segment.”
Mike Manley expects sales of over 800,000 units in its first year. Undoubtedly, this is a lofty goal for a single subcompact Jeep brand. Last year, there were only 2.2 million subcompact Jeeps sold across the world, which means that Manley is aiming at gobbling up 37% of the market.
Manley thinks this possible, though. He says, “As the [subcompact] segment develops in the coming years, I think there is a very good chance it will be our top seller.”
But if Jeep does want to be successful, they will have to crack into the United States market. Last year, only 250,000 subcompact SUVs were sold in the United States, which was far less than what was sold in Asia and Europe (1.1 million apiece).
If history is any indicator, the United States market won’t be so warm to the new vehicle. After all, we are a country that likes power and money, and WE WANT OUR VEHICLES BIG AND JACKED UP. It’s just how it has always been.