Italy-made Jeep true test of Fiat-Chrysler's global ambitions
* FCA targets global Jeep sales of 1 million in 2014
* Jeep to help FCA turn around in Europe by 2016
* Analysts say Jeep truly global brand, but challenges ahead
By Agnieszka Flak
GENEVA, March 4 (Reuters) - The Jeep Renegade, which debuted at the Geneva auto show on Tuesday, will be the first true test of the recent marriage between Italian carmaker Fiat and its U.S. unit Chrysler, meant to allow both to share technology, cash and dealer networks.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' new small Jeep should help the carmaker reach an ambitious sales target of 1 million vehicles for the brand this year and will test the world's seventh-largest auto group's ability to compete globally.
Through the alliance, brands like Jeep hope to gain a global manufacturing footprint in Fiat's home turf in Europe and in fast-growing markets such as Brazil, which has long been one of Fiat's strongholds.
"The investment that Fiat has already made, now gives the opportunity to Jeep to expand its manufacturing footprint at lightning speed," Mike Manley, head of the Jeep brand, said at the launch of the Renegade.
Even though analysts believe Jeep is the only truly global brand in FCA's portfolio, they are cautious about the 1 million target, a 37 percent jump from 2013. Continuación...