Reports had emerged last month that the vibrant American SUV manufacturer confirmed to be making a compact model dubbed as Jeep C-SUV or Jeep 551. It is more likely to be launched in the third quarter of this year as the global reveal has been set to be hosted at Brazil.
Replacement to the existing Compass and Patriot, the Jeep 551 will be a contemporary take on the Grand Cherokee and will have plenty of design influences from the popular model. Some reports say Jeep could christen the global SUV as Compatriot. Its home market is expected to see the new vehicle by the end of this year before deliveries commencing in the opening months of 2017.
The pilot production for the Jeep 551 will begin next month in Toluca, Mexico and additionally the compact SUV will be rolled off the production lines at its Pernambuco plant in Brazil.
However, the full-production will only kick off as late as February 2017. This means the current Compass and Patriot will be manufactured only until the end of this year. It will sit on a stretched platform used on the Renegade and will spawn a more sturdy Trailhawk version through its life-cycle.
Initially expected to be revealed at the recently concluded 2016 New York Auto Show, the new compact SUV will be slotted between the Jeep Renegade and Jeep Cherokee. The Small-Wide platform is basically a front-wheel drive module where the six-speed manual transmission will likely be offered as standard.
The probabilities of two choices of engine are the 2.0-litre Tigershark petrol and 2.0-litre MultiJet II diesel. The range-topping models could come linked with nine-speed automatic gearbox driving all four wheels. The Jeep C SUV or 551 will be produced out of Tata FCA joint venture facility in Ranjangaon from the beginning of next year as FCA invested a huge sum of $280 million in the plant. Moreover, India could act as manufacturing hub for the right-hand drive foreign markets.
Jeep showcased the Grand Cherokee, Grand Cherokee SRT and Wrangler Unlimited at the Auto Exp 2016 in early February. The Renegade was spied testing by us a few weeks ago and is more likely to be introduced in the Indian market initially via CBU route.