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All-American Jeep will import Compass, Patriot from Italy


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All-American Jeep will import Compass, Patriot from Italy

08:35 AM

How do you say "Jeep" in Italian?

The next generation of the Jeep Compass and Patriot are going to be made by Fiat in Italy as part of a joint distribution deal, Automotive News reports. Even before those new models, the next Dodge Caliber is expected to be first use the "compact wide" chassis architecture starting next year.

Fiat and Chrysler are investing $1.3 billion to retool the factory in Turin that will make the new Jeep models starting in 2013.

Chrysler hopes to import about 100,000 Compass and Patriot crossovers a year under the deal. Fiat controls Chrysler under the ownership arrangment after Chrysler's bankruptcy filing last year.

Before the Italian models arrive, Chrysler has made some modifications to update the Compass and Patriot for the 2011 model years, like the Patriot in the photo above.



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Fiat-Chrysler Will Build Some Jeeps In Italy From 2012

For some, the Jeep brand, and its legendary vehicles, are American icons. But soon, some Jeeps will be built at a Fiat plant in Italy, with about half of the factory's output earmarked for export back to the U.S.

With modern automobile manufacture becoming an increasingly global affair, it's not a surprising move--particularly because Fiat-Chrysler also wants to build some Alfa Romeos on the same Jeep platform, and Alfa's primary market is still in Europe.

American brands aren't as "American" as they used to be, either, with many models manufactured in Mexico or Canada. So perhaps the migration of some of Jeep's SUVs to Italy will slide right under the radar. Or perhaps not...

Jeep's reputation for reliability and longevity is not particularly high thanks to decades of cost-cutting at both the home company and its suppliers, sometimes shoddy quality control, and a willingness of dedicated Jeep fans to deal with their various "quirks." Pairing Jeep's own reputation for fallibility with Fiat's poor American perception might be a recipe for disaster, however.

We'll have until late 2012 to pontificate on the matter, as the first vehicles to roll out of the joint Alfa/Jeep operation won't be on the market until the third or fourth quarter of that year. Let us know what you think about an Italian-built Jeep, built by Fiat, does for your perception of the brand in the comments below.



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