Changes coming to Jeep
Chrysler Group LLC’s Jeep, the sport utility vehicle brand that had record sales last year, is looking at a truck variant of its Wrangler model as the U.S. manufacturer broadens its lineup.
Chrysler, with operations in Toledo and majority-owned by Italian carmaker Fiat SpA, is planning a next-generation Wrangler in 2016 that may include a pickup version, Jeep President Mike Manley said at the Geneva auto show. The company also is discussing a new SUV larger than its Grand Cherokee, Manley said.
“I’m a big fan of a Wrangler-based pickup,” Manley said. The U.S. market would probably be the main source of demand for the model, followed by the Middle East, he said.
Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne, who also leads the Turin-based parent company, is positioning Jeep as one of the Fiat-Chrysler group’s global brands by adding production of its SUVs in China and Russia. Marchionne also is adding Jeep output in Italy, where Fiat is seeking to fill capacity that’s not being used amid slumping demand for cars in Europe.
Big Lots’ profits up
Big Lots of Columbus reported strong sales in both its U.S. and Canadian stores during the fourth quarter. The company earned $120.3 million, or $2.09 per share, on sales of $1.8 billion for the quarter, which ended Feb. 2. That’s up from $114.7 million, or $1.75 per share, on sales of $1.7 billion during the same time in 2012. That surpassed Wall Street earnings per share expectations of $1.99.
Comparable-store sales fell 3.5 percent.
— Beacon Journal wire reports