This article appears on Money.
Jeep was one of the grand prizes when Fiat took over Chrysler during the financial crisis of 2007-2009. Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne, an Italian-Canadian, knew the Jeep brand well. And in his strategic planning he made Jeep a focal point of expanding the combined Fiat Chrysler’s sales globally.
That explains why you see the Jeep name on the uniforms of Italy’s champion soccer team, Juventus. The team is owned by the Agnelli family, which controls Fiat. It’s like the Yankees having a Fiat logo on the front of their jerseys.
It also explains why the latest addition to the Jeep line, the Renegade, isn’t made in Detroit, where the Jefferson North plant cranks out those $60,000 Grand Cherokees. Instead, the Jeep Renegade is made in southern Italy, in Melfi, in the general vicinity of Naples. (And where you will find lots of people named Saporito, I discovered.)
The Italians might call it a Jeeponino. A little Jeep. What I’ll call it is a worthy addition not only to the brand, but also to an emerging category being called the urban utility vehicle. Read more at Money.