Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV hopes the 2017 Jeep Compass will capture coveted millennial buyers. To do that, the automaker is tugging at wanderlust buried in those hearts through a new ad campaign launching Thursday.
The “Recalculating” campaign kicks off with a 60-second video featuring young actors stumbling through big-city jobs, hitting the open road, getting engaged, changing lifestyles and confronting change — all with the help of their Jeep.
“We wanted to tap into a human truth,” Olivier Francois, Fiat Chrysler chief marketing officer, said in an interview. “These millennials are literally living life through these recalculating moments. These are stories that really appeal to our core customer. Plus, the name of the car is Compass.”
Fiat Chrysler plans to sell the all-new compact SUV in more than 100 countries to capitalize on the projected 19-percent growth for pint-size utilities by 2020. The latest Compass replaces a previous-generation Compass on the road now, as well as the discontinued Jeep Patriot.
The new Compass “will be pivotal in reaching a broader audience of consumers,” said Mike Manley, head of Jeep and Ram brands, in a news release. “The addition of the all-new Jeep Compass to the brand’s SUV line-up continues to redefine and grow our stronger-than-ever Jeep portfolio.”
The SUV steps into a competitive segment only becoming more saturated with vehicles. Several automakers, including Ford Motor Co., have new small SUVs coming on line within the next year.
Compact SUVs, the biggest selling utilities in the world, are transforming mature markets like the United States and Europe. About 6.3 million were sold last year, and that is expected to rise to 7.5 million by 2020.
Francois said the new SUV stands out because of its Jeep roots: The SUV doesn’t sacrifice off-road power for efficiency. That is highlighted in the commercial, which invokes Francois’s trend for using ad time to tell more personal stories while the company pushes a product.
The off-road capable SUV keeps its Jeep looks with a jazzed-up seven-slot grille and a resemblance to the Grand Cherokee. The roof is painted black on certain models.
In the U.S., the new Compass will be offered with a 2.4-liter Tigershark inline four-cylinder good for 180 horsepower and 175 foot-pounds of torque. It’ll be available with six-speed manual transmissions in both front- and four-wheel drive versions; a six-speed automatic transmission in front-wheel drive versions; and a nine-speed automatic transmission in four-wheel drive models.
Jeep says the nine-speed boosts acceleration and fuel economy over the current generation. The Compass gets an estimated 31 miles per gallon on the highway for four-wheel drive versions equipped with a manual.
Staff writer Melissa Burden contributed