Aside from the extraordinary situation whereby it missed much of the long boom in China, Jeep is a compelling story of success and expansion and reinvention.
A joint venture in the PRC which continues to under-perform is the only regional or national operation that Jeep’s former and current owners just can’t seem to make work. By contrast, North America and Europe are case studies in how to update, evolve and profit handsomely from changes in vehicle buyer wants and needs.
Who would have suspected that Italians and even Germans would be mad for electrified American brand SUVs? The most popular models have not necessarily been small ones either. And now there are mild hybrids, plug-in hybrids and relatively soon battery-only Jeeps will be available in Europe and later, in America too.
This reports examines certain Jeep models which are new or coming next, starting with the electrified ones. It also explores Stellantis’ odd idea of marketing certain obviously Jeep-looking models minus that brand name. Why it is doing this for high-end vehicles when all Range Rovers carry Land Rover badging is strange.
The then FCA confirmed to the media in June 2018 that it was developing a sub-Renegade model. Then came the merger with Groupe PSA. The whole project was delayed as work started afresh on switching the architecture to the latter’s CMP and e-CMP, now renamed STLA Small.
The lead plant for what might be called ‘Graduate’ is Tychy with related small crossovers for Fiat and Alfa Romeo to be made on the same production line. There could be one for Lancia too but not until after 2025.
The littlest Jeep may end up being quite a big deal. Such a vehicle would also potentially be very successful in Brazil and India: it could be built in both of those countries, not just in Poland.
In April 2021, suppliers reported that series production of versions powered by internal combustion engines would commence in November 2022 with the EV to follow from February 2023.
Given the sub-4m length, it seems unlikely that any version of the Graduate will be sold in the USA.
Announced in January with sales due to start next month, the Renegade e-Hybrid and larger Compass e-Hybrid share a powertrain. Each is for mainly LHD and RHD European markets.
Unlike the 4xe versions, which are plug-in hybrids, neither has all-wheel drive capability. The propulsion system consists of a turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder Miller Cycle petrol engine from Stellantis’ Global Small Engine family and a single motor.
Combined power and torque are 130 hp and 240 Nm. A seven-speed (code: 7HDT300) dual-clutch automatic gearbox is the only available transmission. The 48-volt motor’s outputs are 15 kW (20 hp) and 55 Nm – claimed to be equivalent to 135 Nm at gearbox input level.
As the petrol-electric powertrain was added to the Renegade towards the end of its life cycle, build will likely be for fewer than two years.
And as with the PHEV (see link to PLDB below for details), there might not be a direct successor, Stellantis potentially instead replacing all variants with a battery Renegade. That is yet to be confirmed though and equally the company may instead fit both powertrains to the next generation model, along with an ICE-only alternative for North America.
The next Renegade had been expected for North America’s 2023 model year, production scheduled to commence during the third quarter of 2022. An evolution of the existing SUSW platform was said to be the original plan but now the architecture could be switched to Stellantis’ STLA Small.
There should therefore be an EV variant for Europe but not North America. An update on this project is awaited. The potential platform (and plants) change will likely delay the new model’s arrival until 2023 or 2024.
A China reboot…
The make and model(s) are not yet known but in January 2020, Foxconn (Hon Hai Precision Industry Company is also known as Foxconn Technology Group) told the media that it hoped to establish a JV with the then Fiat Chrysler which would see the companies making electric vehicles in China.
As Jeep is the only FCA brand which has had any impact with buyers in the PRC (although deliveries in 2021 numbered only a little more than 20,000 vehicles), this would be the logical one to base their collaboration on. No date of introduction was stated but 2023/2024 seems likely if the deal goes ahead.
Nine months after the Taiwanese firm’s initial statement, it then revealed an EV-specific architecture at an event in Taipei, announcing an intention to become a vehicle manufacturer. The Apple sub-contractor also said it had plans to produce solid state batteries for vehicles from 2024.
Young Liu, the Foxconn’s chairman, says he sees the potential for the company to be supplying up to three million EV chassis and electric systems annually by 2025. It is presumed that this would be for multiple JVs.
…and India too (plus Brazil)
The Commander (to be made in Brazil) and Meridian (India) are the same model. The first of them was revealed online in August 2021.
These additional Jeeps reportedly have an internal code of H6. Production in India would commence during the first half of 2022, Stellantis US’ head of Design, Ralph Gilles, told the local media in March 2021, the same applying to build in Brazil.
Based on the Compass, (see PLDB for details of this model and its successor) the new model has six- and seven-seat layouts. The Commander for South America should be powered by a flex-fuel 1.3-litre engine while India’s Meridian will reportedly come with a standard mild hybrid 2.0-litre diesel.
Earlier this week, Stellantis India announced that the Commander would be available locally from ‘mid-year’.
The Jeeps which aren’t Jeeps
The Grand Wagoneer, a revival of a dormant model name from Jeep’s history, had been due for release in 2013 but after many delays it was finally announced to the media in March 2021. A Wagoneer was revealed at the same time: that name was first mentioned by FCA’s former CEO Sergio Marchionne during a press conference in January 2016.
Deliveries of these big up to eight-seat SUVs commenced in the second half of 2021, new for the ’22 model year. Peculiarly, Stellantis does not refer to either model as a Jeep. Nor is there any of the brand’s badging inside or out. ‘Wagoneer’ even appears as a kind of premium sub-brand in the company’s media material.
These giant SUVs are both 249 mm longer, 102 mm taller and 160 mm wider than the Grand Cherokee L. The lightest Wagoneer variant tips the scales at 2,703 kg, with the heaviest Grand Wagoneer weighing 2,912 kg.
The architecture is a derivative of the body-on-frame chassis which the Ram 1500 pick-up uses. As for engines, the Wagoneer has a 5.7-litre mild hybrid V8 with outputs of 392 horsepower and 404 pound feet of torque. The GW, meanwhile, is powered by a 471 hp 6.4-litre V8 which generates 455 lb ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard for both.
These are the marque’s most expensive models, positioned above both the Grand Cherokee and the three-row SUV which FCA announced in 2018 that it was developing. The last of these turned out to be a new Grand Cherokee with an extra row of seats.
The Wagoneer is aimed at models such as the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban as well as the Ford Expedition. The Grand Wagoneer is instead more of a rival for the Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator, Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class and BMW X7. While the big Jeeps look similar, the GW has flared wheel arches/fenders, a two-tone black roof and retractable side steps among other special features.
Prototypes of an even lengthier model (or indeed, models) were spotted in January, suggesting that a Wagoneer L and a Grand Wagoneer L will be added to the line-up. That could be for either the ’23 or ’24 model years. The weight of this or these vehicles will likely be extraordinary.
The life cycles for all Wagoneers should be a decade, meaning facelifts in 2027. There’s a chance it could instead be an eight-year cadence, in which case, the refreshes would be for MY2026.
Reports for many other manufacturers’ future models are grouped in the OEM product strategy summaries section of Just Auto.
Future platform intelligence
More detail on past, current and forthcoming models can be found in PLDB, the future vehicles database which is part of GlobalData’s Automotive Intelligence Center. That includes Jeeps not featured in this report.
The next instalment in the focus on Stellantis future models will look at Peugeot, followed by Citroën, DS and finally, Opel and Vauxhall. Recently published articles for related brands concerned Fiat, Abarth and Lancia; Chrysler, Dodge and Ram; Alfa Romeo; and Maserati.