The blokes over at Autocar say Fiat is preparing to use the same platform used on the Alfa Romeo Milano (concept version pictured above) in an upcoming Jeep model. Does that sound to you a little like a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model crashing the party at a redneck wedding? Yeah, me, too.
Autocar says the platform is flexible enough to be used in two lengths and take a four-wheel-drive system, which can be adapted for use in a low-end Jeep. Just what the world needs, huh, another low-end Jeep!
What I’m having a hard time understanding is how (and why) an up-market Alfa Romeo platform would be used on a low-end Jeep. I think Jeep fans in this country have a lot to be worried about, as Fiat could water down the brand even more than Chrysler did. Want further proof? There may also be plans to bring the Fiat Panda to the States as a Jeep.
Now, the Panda is a perfectly fine urban commuter car, and even outfitted with four-wheel drive, it gets great fuel mileage. But it’s not a Jeep. In fact, a Panda would make the Patriot look like the all-time king of off-roading.
Don’t get me wrong here – I’m all for Fiat trying to save Chrysler by delivering European automobiles with the Pentastar’s badge on them. Jeep doesn’t fit into the equation, though. I’d much rather see Jeep specialize in what it does best, off-road adventure, than become a brand that keeps trying to be everything to everyone.
I think Fiat could ruin the Jeep brand by releasing more low-end, small models. Sales might increase, but the brand will become indistinguishable from any others.
Do you think Jeep should offer low-end models with minimal off-road capability? Would you buy one?