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Auto blogThu, 06 Jun 2013 13:31:00 EST
Despite its refusal to recall 2.7 million Jeep Grand Cherokee and Liberty models this week over a gas tank fire risk, Chrysler will be recalling 630,000 Jeep Compass (pictured), Patriot and Wrangler vehicles around the globe for a pair of entirely different reasons.
The affected Compass and Patriot models are all from the 2010 to 2012 model years - 254,000 in the United States, 45,400 in Canada and 109,000 elsewhere in the world. In these models, a software error may result in the late deployment of the side airbags and seatbelt tensioners. In the event of a crash, failure of these systems could result in more serious injuries for the vehicle's occupants.
Jeep's go-anywhere Wrangler also faces a separate recall due to power steering fluid lines that can possibly wear a hole in the transmission oil cooler line. According to Chrysler, the vehicles could then leak fluid, possibly damaging the transmissions. Roughly 221,100 Wrangler models are being recalled because of this issue, all of which are fitted with Jeep's 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine. In the US, 181,000 vehicles are affected, with an additional 18,400 in Canada and 21,700 additional units worldwide. A Chrysler spokesperson said that no crashes or injuries have been reported with either case, according to the Associated Press.
We've heard rumors before about a new, baby Jeep to slot below the new-for-2014 Cherokee (pictured) in the automaker's lineup. Now, Edmunds is reporting that the new crossover will arrive sometime in 2014, and will be about the same size as the Ford Fiesta. This currently unnamed vehicle will effectively replace both the Compass and Patriot in the Jeep lineup.
Speaking to Edmunds, Jeep CEO Mike Manley said that the new, small Jeep will be assembled in Italy and marketed globally beginning sometime next year. Manley did not provide many details on the new model, but did say that it will be 4.2-meters (165 inches) long. The Cherokee, by comparison, is 4.6-meters long (181 inches). Furthermore, Edmunds reports that while the new small Jeep will offer diesel power in other markets, there are no plans for an oil-burning version here in the US.
Many other automakers are exploring this smaller crossover segment here in the US. General Motors recently launched the Buick Encore, which is loosely based on the Chevrolet Sonic subcompact's platform. Ford has already launched its Fiesta-based EcoSport in other markets, and has reportedly been pondering the idea of offering it in the US, as well.
The long-awaited baby Jeep is getting closer to production, as evidenced by these spy photos. Previously, the only images of the so-called Jeepster saw it wearing a Fiat 500L body (see below), while this new batch of photos show hefty amounts of camouflage. How is that better? Well, it's very likely there's a production body hiding under all that cladding.
While picking out styling details is virtually impossible thanks to all the camo, as our spies point out, this gives us a very sound idea of the Jeepster's final size. It's small, although we'd argue that it's only slightly smaller than the current Jeep Patriot, based on the images of the newest Jeep sitting in front of an Alfa Romeo Giulietta.
As we reported previously, this little bambino will be built on a Fiat platform, but the styling should be uniquely Jeep - likely to include a somewhat vertical seven-slat grille and round headlights. We can expect to see a production Jeepster, if that ends up being the actual name (Latitude has been rumored, although as that's traditionally a trim level, we imagine there'd be some confusion), when it debuts at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show.