New small Jeep to be built at Fiat plant in Italy

Jeep\'s new sub-Cherokee model is set to be built in Italy at a Fiat plant.

A new small Jeep SUV/crossover that will share its platform with the next variant of the Fiat 500 lineup will be built at the Italian automaker's Melfi, Italy, assembly plant beginning next summer.

Not much is known about the new sub-Cherokee model in Jeep's lineup, but it is expected to replace both the Patriot and Compass when it goes on sale in about a year. An introduction at next Spring's New York International Auto Show is anticipated.

A new report by Automotive News suggests that Fiat will build about 150,000 Jeeps and an additional 130,000 examples of the Fiat version, which is expected to be called 500X. The 500X is a new addition to Fiat's growing 500 lineup, which recently welcomed the five-door 500L MPV-like vehicle to its lineup.

Both the Fiat and the Jeep will use a unibody platform related to the 500L with either front or all-wheel-drive. The Jeep version will likely boast improved off road capabilities and the trade journal suggests that it will be exclusively available with four-wheel-drive. A two-speed transfer case like Jeep's more dirt-oriented models has not been confirmed. The report also indicates that it will boast "baby Wrangler" styling.

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