Italian-built Jeep will be smaller than current Patriot, seen here on a US line

Italian-built Jeep will be smaller than current Patriot, seen here on a US line

Fiat is to build vehicles on an updated version of one of its three main architectures at the Mirafiori plant in Italy starting in the second half of 2013.

Tooling up will begin in 2012 and production of the first vehicle model, a Jeep SUV, is expected in H2 2013. Media reports have said the new model will be smaller than the current Patriot and Compass models and there will also be a Fiat version, replacing the current Sedici, which was developed jointly with Suzuki. said the new Jeep would be based on Fiat’s SUSW architecture, a wider, US-compliant version of Fiat’s European Small architecture. The first products to be built on the new platform will be two small minivans Fiat will produce in at its Zastava plant in Serbia.

"This latest strategy would seem to confirm the replacement for the Patriot and Compass, and an Alfa Romeo model on the same platform, will be built in the US," the website devoted to Chrysler products said.

"This is an important step in our plans to re-industrialise our Italian manufacturing backbone in view of current market developments and the increased distribution reach provided by Chrysler Group" Fiat and Chrysler Group chief executive Sergio Marchionne said in a statement.

"This leading-edge architecture will allow us to provide the most updated platforms for the development of our brands, and more importantly, will allow us to access the full powertrain offerings of both Fiat and Chrysler."

Production of the Alfa Romeo Mito, including new and updated versions, has also been confirmed for Mirafiori.