We already know that Jeep and Fiat will be sharing platforms, but recent reports suggest the next-generation 2013 Jeep Compass and Patriot will be imported to the U.S. from Italy, while the new Alfa Romeo Giulia would be built in the within our country and exported to Europe. Is this reality or rampant speculation? From what we can tell, it's a little bit of both.
According to research and consulting firm AutoCompass, the Italian-American company will move production of the upcoming Alfa Giulia sedan from its Mirafiori plant in Turin, Italy to its plant in Belvidere, Illinois. The report then alleges the slot left at Mirafiori by the departure of the Giulia will be filled by shifting production of the next-generation Jeep Compass and Patriot from the U.S. to Italy.
AutoCompass says it was able to confirm the production shift with Chrysler and Fiat suppliers, but a Chrysler spokesperson gave us a little different story.
According to the automaker, there is no plan to move Patriot/Compass production away from Belvedere, but there is a chance the plant could produce a Fiat or Alfa vehicle. That plant is a fully flexible facility, will be able to produce both C- and D-segment vehicles, and has room for an additional production shift. So, in theory, the Giulia could be built in Illinois without shipping Jeep production abroad. This looks increasingly plausible when you consider all three vehicles will ultimately ride upon a version of Fiat's C-EVO platform.
While speaking to Ward's during the New York auto show, Jeep CEO Mike Manley said that, "certainly a next-generation C or D -- Compass/Patriot/Liberty -- will be built in Turn, and we will export from there." Our sources tell us that it is most likely that Jeeps produced in and exported from Italy will simply be those models sold in Western Europe. The move isn't unprecedented -- European-spec Grand Cherokees were previously assembled for some time by Magna Steyr's assembly line in Graz, Austria.
So, is the Jeep-Alfa flip-flop possible? Yes, although it appears highly implausible. That said, we can't wait to have an Alfa -- perhaps even a U.S.-built Alfa -- on our shores once again.
Source: Ward's Auto, The Windsor Star