Chrysler to invest $1.7 billion in Fiat-based Jeep image

Chrysler Group today announced it will invest $1.7 billion to develop and build the next generation of its Jeep SUV scheduled to debut in 2013.

The new Jeep will be built on a platform based on the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, which will also underpin some of Chrysler’s future models. The joint platform is the next step in Chrysler’s turnaround plan, which is based on fusing Fiat and Chrysler operations in order to lower costs and reach new markets around the world. The Jeep plant in Toledo will build the first Jeep SUV off the Alfa Romeo platform, with the new model to be exported globally by 2013.

CEO Sergio Marchionne said up to four different models could be built on the Jeep SUV platform. “The reason why the money is being spent is to make sure that the architecture has all the flexibility to build additional top hats,” he told the press at the Toledo Assembly Complex on Wednesday. The $1.7 billion investment includes $500 million to expand the Jeep plant in Toledo, where Chrysler will add 1,100 jobs on a second shift in 2013 to build the new SUV. The remaining $1.2 billion will be spent on other Chrysler plants in the U.S., suppliers and other costs.

Marchionne said the company has not yet decided whether the new model will keep the Liberty name. Currently, the Toledo plant builds the Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Liberty and Dodge Nitro.