Engineering the Jeep Renegade

Art Anderson is the chief engineer for the 2015 Jeep Renegade, the newest, smallest Jeep in the brand’s lineup.

Art Anderson is the chief engineer for the 2015 Jeep Renegade, the newest, smallest Jeep in the brand’s lineup. This is no “baby Jeep.” It has the capability and performance that one would expect from a Jeep, it can be optioned up to have all of the technologies and accessories that one would expect for a class-above vehicle*, yet it has a footprint that is more internationally appropriate than its larger brethren.

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Which is important, because the Jeep Renegade, which is produced in a plant in Melfi, Italy, not in Toledo or Detroit, is a global vehicle.

You can learn about the Renegade in the cover story of the March 2015 issue of Automotive Design & Production (or simply click here and see the digital version thereof).

And you can learn even more about it from Art Anderson himself, as he appears on this edition of “Autoline After Hours.”

Anderson talks with Brent Snavely, business and auto reporter for the Detroit Free Press, Joe Szczesny, auto writer for the Oakland Press, and me.

John McElroy was on his way back from the Geneva Motor Show and consequently back in the studio. But even though Snavely, Szczesny and I weren’t in Switzerland, we did talk about some of the new cars that were unveiled there.

In addition to which, we took a look at the February sales numbers, which generally show that were it not for their light truck offerings, a whole lot of OEMs would be stuck with dealer lots full of unsold inventory of sedans, which aren’t having much traction in this period of low gas prices.

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Yukon XL sales are up 103.5% for the year

(Here’s an example of the strength of crossovers and SUVs. GMC is GM’s truck brand. It has seven vehicles—a van, crossovers, SUVs, and pickups—in the market. Of those seven vehicles, only one, the Savana van (which is having its proverbial lunch eaten by the likes of the Ford Transit Connect), is down in sales. For the month, its sales in February 2015 are up 19.3% compared to February of last year. The other three GM brands offer a mix of cars and light trucks. Chevy February/February sales were up only 3.8%. Buick’s were down by 9.2% and Cadillac’s were off by 12.6%. This was GMC’s best month since. . .2002)

*Although Anderson talks about “class-above” and “best-in-class,” he readily admits that there really isn’t anything like the Renegade available in the market. One vehicle that he brings up as a possible contender is the Kia Soul, but while the Soul may be competitive from the standpoint of its exterior shape and its interior cargo capacity, the Soul is an urban car, not something one is going to take on mountain adventures.