26 March 2015

Renegade launched by Jeep in Ireland

The new Jeep Renegade has launched in Ireland at a starting price of €22,950, writes Brian Byrne.

The new small SUV from the iconic off-road brand is available in both 2WD and 4WD, and competes against Opel's Mokka, Skoda's Yeti, Mini's Countryman and Peugeot's 2008. The 4WD drives as a FWD until 4WD is sensed to be required. There will also be a Trailhawk go-anywhere version.

Power options include a 1.6 diesel with 115g/gm emissions, and Renegade offers the first 9-speed automatic in the segment. A 2.0 diesel and 1.6 petrol are also available at launch, while further power units are on the way.

There are also open roof versions. There are 11 colours in both traditional Jeep hues as well as bright styles. The specification levels are very high to help attract conquest sales to the brand.

The company is targeting a whole new audience who want a car that 'expresses emotion and passion'. To further this, the model will be partnered with Red Bull and its mountain biking competitive events in Europe, while in Ireland a partnership with a local adventure-type sector will be announced in the next few weeks.

Country Director for Ireland Gerry Clarke suggested at up to 40pc of sales in Ireland will be to women. He said the target customer profile is for social and digitally active and upwardly mobile people, and seven in ten will not be coming from an SUV background. He said customers will be getting much more from the car at entry level than is represented by most competition. The price 'walk' between the grades will be €2,000 and €3,400.

In Ireland, the segment will grow to 5pc of the total market this year, effectively double what it was just a few years ago.

Jeep Ireland expect that the split between drive formats will be 60:40 FWD/4WD. The fact that the Renegade is being built in Italy means specific requests for models won't mean long lead times.

Gerry Clarke is looking at 'north of 100 units' in a full year. "But we have the capacity to deliver much more than that."

Jeep celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2016.