Designing Global Jeeps A Balancing Act For Fiat-Chrysler, Automaker Says

Jeep’s global sales have tripled since 2009, so it’s clear the automaker must start pandering to a global audience in addition to keeping its loyal American buyers happy. The automaker is now faced with task of trying to work its American DNA into globally appealing designs, with the compact Renegade being the first example of this technique.

Automotive News recently caught up with Klaus Busse, Fiat-Chrysler’s vice president for interior design, who said they are “walking a very fine line,” between being unmistakably American and still being attractive to buyers in Europe, China and elsewhere.

Busse says they must tap the American spirit just the right amount, as American culture is viewed in a positive light around the world. A good example of this strategy is the Renegade, which has contemporary styling with unmistakable Jeep traits such as round headlights, a seven-slot grille and short overhangs.

“Did we design the vehicle any different than we would have designed it solely for the U.S.? We did not,” Busse told AN. “We wanted to design an American Jeep that had that cachet around the world. It’s truly what we think a Jeep should be.”

The Renegade is expected to be a hit in Asian markets such as China and Japan due to its small footprint and the brand’s established credibility in those markets. If all goes to plan, it won’t be the only Jeep designed with the world in mind, and Busse and his team of global designers will be exceptionally busy.

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