Fiat’s 500X is not a threat to Jeep’s Renegade image

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has been keen to enter the highly lucrative small crossover segment, so the automaker is going to have not one, but two sister models in the category.

Just months after introducing the smallest Jeep to date – the Renegade – the newly merged Italo-American carmaker would also introduce its European counterpart, the Fiat 500X. Based on the same platform and sharing numerous components, the usual question has quickly arisen – will they cannibalize? According to industry observers and analysts, the models – built together in a plant in Italy – can survive together, as they address different customers.

“The Jeep [Renegade] and 500X can coexist, “says Giorgio Elefante, a PwC consultant.

The 500X is a “cute, urban vehicle with off-road capabilities,” while the Renegade is the “rugged” Jeep we all expect, adds Ian Fletcher, an IHS Automotive analyst. “They are almost like the male and female version of the same model, although I expect the two models to please both men and women.”

Looking like a scaled down Wrangler, the Renegade keeps the iconic design that made the US brand famous and has deep off-road capabilities. The 500X on the other side expands the equally famous retro styling of the new 500, appealing to customers mostly through design.

The IHS market researcher forecasts sales to be on Renegade’s side – 109,425 to 72,897 for the 500X in 2015, and both should rise by 45 and 33%, respectively, in 2016.