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Jeep Pairs With Fiat For US Panda Production

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On: Mon, Sep 19, 2011 at 3:31PM | By: Chris Salamone

Jeep Pairs With Fiat For US Panda Production

Edmunds and HubPages report some contradictory information regarding Jeep’s recent plan to bring the Fiat Panda stateside, but both sources suggest that we can expect a Jeep version of Fiat’s AWD Panda in the near future. While HubPages offers a much narrower time window, Edmunds notes that the new Jeep model probably will not arrive on US soil until 2013 as a 2014 model.

At best, most of the information regarding a joint-venture between Jeep and Fiat is mere conjecture. Neither Fiat nor Jeep has officially announced final plans. Yet, some sources indicate that Jeep plans to label their Italian adoption ‘Phoenix’ and we can assume that Phoenix specs will resemble those found on the currently available European Fiat Panda. Pricing should be somewhat north of the current US version of the Fiat 500.

HubPages speculates that since the Fiat Panda is capable of serious off-roading, the Jeep version should impress an American audience. “With an innovative all wheel drive system which is engaged by the viscous coupling of two Electronic Locking Differentials that cut in below 20 mph and proceed to transfer torque to non-slipping wheels, the Panda/Phoenix can handle anything the street or the dirt can throw at it.”

With a climbable gradient of 50% and large 3.909:1 ratio for first gear, it’s fair to say that the Jeep Phoenix probably won’t disappoint. Estimated fuel economy is difficult to project because of the addition of all wheel drive. A fair guess would be highway mileage in the low 30s and city consumption in the low to mid 20s. These figures are based on reduced estimates of the current Fiat 500.

Since we have no official statement the entire project could still be canned at any time. However, Jeep remains to be one of the popular US brands and would seem to be a good candidate for the Italian off-road Panda—especially with Fiat’s infusion of capital in the American company. So far US consumers have seen the wide scale expansion of Fiat’s presence into US dealerships but have not seen any Fiat technology sharing into American cars. The Jeep Phoenix could be the first example.

Either way, the Fiat Panda is one awesome looking vehicle. Let’s hope Jeep can integrate what makes the Panda so special without sacrificing Jeep’s Spartan appeal.

Photo Gallery (click a thumbnail to enlarge)



dwalter | 4:40PM (Mon, Sep 19, 2011)

That Fiat's more Jeep than the Compass

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