Baby Jeep built in Poland likely to be brand's first EV
Talk of a new Jeep crossover even smaller than the subcompact Renegade dates back several years and now it finally looks to be happening.
Citing official documents from Jeep's Stellantis parent, Automotive News (subscription required) reported last week that a baby Jeep, code-named Project 516, will start production in late 2022 at a plant located in Tychy, Poland, with a related Fiat model inspired by 2019's Centoventi concept (shown below) to enter production at the same plant in 2023. The plant is currently home to Fiat 500 and Lancia Ypsilon production.
A related Alfa Romeo crossover, possibly called Brennero, after an Italian mountain pass just like the Stelvio and upcoming Tonale (essentially a Renegade twin), is waiting to be approved, according to the report.
Polish Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Gowin in a tweet last December also mentioned an investment in the Tychy plant to support new vehicles.
The basis for the new vehicles would be Stellantis' CMP front-wheel-drive platform which is designed for mini and subcompact cars and supports plug-in hybrid and battery-electric powertrains.
A Jeep executive in a 2019 interview hinted at a baby Jeep measuring just over 13 feet in length, which would place it in the minicar segment. In comparison, the subcompact Renegade stretches close to 14 feet.
According to Automotive News' report, the baby Jeep and Fiat (and possibly Alfa Romeo) crossovers will launch with internal-combustion engines but eventually offer battery-electric powertrains. An electric version of the Jeep is reportedly coming in 2023, which will likely make it the first electric Jeep, not counting the Jeep Wrangler Magneto concept that just hit up this year's Moab Easter Jeep Safari.
Sadly, the baby Jeep (and baby Alfa Romeo) will likely be off-limits for the United States because of its diminutive size. It wouldn't be the first Jeep to skip the U.S. The brand also sells the three-row Grand Commander exclusively in China. It's a reflection of Jeep's further transformation into a global brand.