Going where few other automakers have gone before, Sergio Marchionne has taken the very successful Jeep Grand Cherokee and given it a mid-cycle facelift in three years instead of the usual four, and well before the market demanded changes -- 2012 sales were stronger than 2011's. More than its face is getting lifted. The Jeep gets its own eight-speed transmission and a diesel engine option. It is a dangerous strategy, though. Accelerating the design changes means amortizing the costs over a shorter time period and hiking the overhead on each individual unit.
A look at what's in store for the world's automakers this year will tell a lot about what to expect for cars down the road.