If you've followed our sales reports over the last two years, it's no great secret than 2012 and 2013 have been great years for the Jeep brand. But as good as they've been, Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne hopes 2014 will be better yet.
At the Detroit auto show, Marchionne set an ambitious verbal sales target of 1 million units for Jeep worldwide in 2014. Jeep set an all-time sales record of 731,565 units in 2013. A big part of Jeep's projected volume growth in 2014 is expected to be the 2014 Cherokee, giving the brand a competitive entry in the compact/midsize crossover segment, an area where the dated Liberty was failing to attract a broad base of customers.
Another potential game-changer for Jeep in 2014 is the introduction of the as-yet-unnamed subcompact model that will be built in Italy,and sold worldwide, including the U.S. In addition to these two significant new introductions, logistical bottlenecks at the Jefferson North plant in Detroit that builds the Jeep Grand Cherokee have been reportedly been resolved, that should enable greater output and export capability for the brand's premium flagship.
Another unknown variable, and one that's unlikely to come in time to contribute to 2014 sales, is the Chinese government's final approval of plans to build the Jeep Cherokee in Guangzhou, in southern China.