Jeep – future SUVs for the 2030s

Aside from the extraordinary situation where it missed much of the long boom in China, Jeep is a compelling story of success and expansion and reinvention.

A joint venture in China that continues to underperform is the one regional or national operation that Jeep’s past and present owners simply cannot pull off. In contrast, North America and Europe are case studies in how to update, evolve and take advantage of changes in the wants and needs of vehicle buyers.

Who would have thought that Italians and even Germans would be crazy about electrified SUVs from the American brand? The most popular models have not necessarily been small either. And now there are mild hybrids, plug-in hybrids and relatively soon battery-powered Jeeps will be available in Europe and later in America as well.

This report examines some Jeep models that are new or coming next, starting with the electrified ones. It also explores Stellanti’s quirky idea of ​​marketing some obviously Jeep-like models minus that branding. Why it does this for high-end vehicles when all Range Rovers carry Land Rover badges is strange.

Electrification

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 entire project was delayed as work began again to change the architecture to the latter’s CMP and e-CMP, now renamed STLA Small.

The lead factory for what might be called ‘Graduated‘ is Tychy with associated small crossovers for Fiat and Alfa Romeo to be manufactured on the same production line. There may be one for Lancia as well, but not until after 2025.

The smallest Jeep can be a pretty big deal. Such a vehicle would also potentially be very successful in Brazil and India: it could be built in both of these countries, not just in Poland.

In April 2021, suppliers reported that series production of versions powered by internal combustion engines would start in November 2022 with EVs following from February 2023.

Given the sub-4m length, it seems unlikely that any version of the Graduate will be sold in the US.

Announced in January with sales starting next month Renegade e-Hybrid and bigger Compass e-Hybrid share a powertrain. Each is primarily intended for LHD and RHD European markets.

Unlike the 4xe versions, which are plug-in hybrids, none of them have four-wheel drive. The propulsion system consists of a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder Miller Cycle gasoline engine from the Stellanti Global Small Engine family and a single engine.

Combined power and torque is 130 hp and 240 Nm. A seven-speed (code: 7HDT300) dual-clutch automatic transmission is the only gearbox available. Outputs from the 48-volt motor are 15 kW (20 hp) and 55 Nm – claimed to be equivalent to 135 Nm at the gearbox’s input level.

Since the gasoline-electric powertrain was added to the Renegade toward the end of its life cycle, construction will likely last less than two years.

And as with the PHEV (see link to PLDB below for details), there may not be a direct successor, Stellantis may instead replace all variants with a battery Renegade. However, that is yet to be confirmed and likewise, the company could instead fit both powertrains to the next-generation model, along with an ICE-only option for North America.

The the next Renegade had been expected for the 2023 North American model year, production scheduled to begin in 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 changed to Stellantis’ STLA Small.

There should therefore be an EV variant for Europe but not North America. An update on this project is pending. The potential change to the platform (and facilities) will likely delay the new model’s arrival until 2023 or 2024.

A reboot in China…

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 that would see companies manufacturing electric vehicles in China.

Since Jeep is the only FCA brand that has had any impact on buyers in China (although 2021 deliveries only amounted to a little more than 20,000 vehicles), this would be the logical thing to base their collaboration on. No date for the introduction was given but 2023/2024 seems likely if the deal goes through.

Nine months after the Taiwanese company’s initial statement, it then revealed an EV-specific architecture at an event in Taipei, announcing an intention to become a vehicle manufacturer. Apple’s subcontractor also said it had plans to make solid-state batteries for vehicles from 2024.

Young Liu, Foxconn’s chairman, says he sees the potential for the company to supply up to three million electric chassis and electrical systems annually by 2025. It is assumed that this would be for several JVs.

…and India too (plus Brazil)

The Commander (to be manufactured in Brazil) and Meridian (India) is 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 start in the first half of 2022, Stellanti’s US design director, Ralph Gilles, told local media in March 2021, the same goes for building in Brazil.

Based on Compass, (see PLDB for details on this model and its successors) the new model has six- and seven-seat layouts. The Commander for South America should be powered by a 1.3-litre flex-fuel engine while India’s Meridian will reportedly come with a regular mild hybrid 2.0-litre diesel.

Earlier this week, Stellantis India announced that the Commander would be available locally from “mid-year”.

Jeeps that aren’t Jeeps

The Grand Wagoneera revival of a dormant model name from Jeep’s history, was supposed to be released in 2013 but after many delays it was finally announced to the media in March 2021. A Wagoner 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 large up to eight-seat SUVs began in the second half of 2021, new for the ’22 model year. Notably, Stellantis does not refer to either model as a Jeep. There is also none of the brand’s branding inside or out. ‘Wagoneer’ even appears as a kind of premium sub-brand in the company’s media materials.

These gigantic SUVs are both 249 mm longer, 102 mm higher and 160 mm wider than 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 used by the Ram 1500 pickup. In terms of engines, the Wagoneer has a 5.7-liter mild hybrid V8 with outputs of 392 horsepower and 404 pound-feet of torque. The GW, meanwhile, is powered by a 471bhp 6.4-litre V8 that generates 455lb ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard for both.

These are the brand’s most expensive models, positioned above both Grand Cherokee and the three-row SUV that 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.

Wagoneer targets models such as the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban as well as the Ford Expedition. The Grand Wagoneer is instead more of a rival to the Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator, Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class and BMW X7. While the big Jeeps look the same, the GW has flared wheel arches/fenders, a two-tone black roof, and retractable side steps among other special features.

Prototypes of an even longer model (or indeed models) were discovered in January, suggesting that a Vagnare L and a Grand Wagoneer L will be added to the lineup. It could be for the ’23 or ’24 model years. The weight of this vehicle or vehicles will likely be extraordinary.

Life cycles for all Wagoneers should be a decade, meaning facelifts in 2027. There’s a chance it could be an eight-year cadence instead, in which case updates would be for MY2026.

Reports for many other manufacturers’ future models are grouped in the OEM product strategy section of Just Auto.

Future platform intelligence

More information on past, current and upcoming models can be found in PLDB, the future vehicle database that is part of GlobalData’s Automotive Intelligence Center. It includes Jeeps not included in this report.

The next episode focusing on Stellanti’s future models will look at the 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.

Leave a Comment