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March 7, 2017

GENEVA – Three plants to make new Jeep for Europe

Jeep's new Compass model will be supplied to Europe from up to three different plants, starting from the middle of this year.

Jeep's new Compass model will be supplied to Europe from up to three different plants, starting from the middle of this year.

Company chief Mike Manley said Jeep's Mexico plant is now up and running and ready to start supply of left hand drive models from the middle of the year.

Right hand drive versions for the UK [and Australia, ed] will be supplied from India while additional capacity will be available in Brazil.

Manley said: "The key is the plants are flexible so can build for different regions. Europe is becoming increasingly important for the brand which achieved more than 100,000 sales there last year.  With Compass coming into the portfolio we expect further growth."

Next up will be a new Wrangler with hopes of taking up the space left by the Land Rover Defender which won't be relaunched until around 2020. Manley said hybridisation is high on the agenda for the off roader as it is with other Jeep models.

He added: "We are continuing to study a lot of technologies from mild to full battery electric although with Wrangler we would not want to leave people stranded on a hill so full battery electric would not be right. But hybrid works well with our brand."

Also coming to Europe will be a crew cab pickup version of the Wrangler while plans for the upscale Grand Wagoneer are pushing ahead though have now been pushed back a couple of years to 2022 because of the pressure of renewing existing models.

Manley said: "The gestation period for this model is quite long for the Grand Wagoneer given the technologies we are looking at."

The vehicle will come to Europe (although there's been no decision yet on right hand drive for the UK) and it will "absolutely" compete at the high end of the SUV market.

Manley said: "If you look at the magazines of the 1980s the Grand Wagoneer and Range Rover were always pitched against each other and we walked away from it. But there are important markets out there in the US, Europe, the Middle East and China."

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