The Jeep Renegade was unveiled in North America earlier this year and has now seen its debut in Europe. Currently, the Paris Motor Show is in its press preview days, when automakers release new concepts and models. Alongside the Jeep Renegade in Paris is the Fiat 500X, a surprise release of a new crossover model from Fiat. Fiat, of course, owns Chrysler, who in turn owns the Jeep brand — the two are collectively known as Fiat-Chrysler Automotive.
Why is the Fiat 500X important and what does it have to do with the Jeep Renegade? The new Jeep Renegade is based on a new platform called the “Long Wheelbase 4×4” platform internally at Fiat-Chrysler. This platform is a combination of the long wheelbase version of the 500, sold as the 500L, and the proprietary four-wheel drive systems of Jeep. The Jeep Renegade will be built in Italy rather than the United States, and is a new re-introduction of the model as a compact crossover that will be sold globally. The new Fiat 500X, which is based on the same, new platform, will be sold alongside the Jeep Renegade, and will be built in the same factory using mostly the same parts.
This obviously brings up the question of whether the two will be competitors in the market.
“The 500X and the Renegade are two very different cars.”
This is how Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat-Chrysler, put it at the Paris show when the 500X debuted. Indeed, the global success of the two is important to proving that the Fiat-Chrysler merger is working and symbiotic, says Bloomberg. The Jeep Renegade and 500X could play an important role in the newly-merged entity’s trade on the New York Stock Exchange, they continue.
Car and Driver points out that the platform used in the Jeep Renegade and this new Fiat is itself just a variant of another platform that is used in a handful of Chrysler and Fiat products. The major difference between the Renegade and the 500X is that the Jeep is trail ready with more off-road capability, whereas the Fiat is road-based with light off-road expectations.
Digital Trends, however, disagrees, and thinks that the Fiat 500X will indeed directly compete with the Jeep Renegade. At least in Europe. Obviously, small, fuel-efficient crossovers are popular there and being able to go off the road is only an occasional need in any market, though Americans tend to take that kind of capability more seriously.
We will see which is more popular when the two enter the North American market early next year. As the New York Times points out, it could be interesting. The 500X will debut here at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November, where it will likely be showcased next to its Jeep Renegade brother.