Jeep May Add Hybrid Wrangler, Small SUV
Jeep is coming off an incredibly successful year. In 2014, the automaker managed to sell over one million units: 1,017,019 to be exact. But that’s not enough for the brand’s market-hungry execs. Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), which owns Jeep, is aiming for 1.9 million units by 2018, according to Car Buzz. That is essentially double Jeep’s output from last year.
Dream big, Serge.
Though it seems unlikely that Jeep will reach that lofty goal, the Jeep team does have some strong plans to get the brand as close to that benchmark as possible. While sales of the Jeep Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, and Wrangler will likely continue to be incredibly strong, and while the Renegade is likely to follow suit, the Jeep Compass and Patriot are probably on their way out the door. So the engineers have had to put their brains together to see what else they can add to the lineup. The answer, it seems: a hybrid Wrangler and an SUV slotted below the Renegade.
Let’s start with the Jeep Wrangler hybrid variant. The rumor comes from Auto Express in a report that says Jeep’s chief, Mike Manley, said that we “have the potential for hybrid powertrains” on the 2017 Jeep Wrangler.
Manley added, “For those people who use the Wrangler, the most important thing is the initial torque and the crawl ratio. With an electric motor you have the most torque available and with the right combination of transmission and gear ratios you can create incredible crawl ratios.”
Make no mistake, though: a hybrid Wrangler is not set in stone. Jeep is also considering diesel power and other alternatives to improve fuel efficiency.
Model research: 2017 Jeep Cherokee Overview
Meanwhile, Autocar reports that Jeep is looking into an SUV that will be even smaller than the new Renegade, though “it cannot yet see a business case for such a model.” Jeep will be watching the small SUV segment very closely over the next couple of years to determine if the product will work. It’s possible, however, that the country’s new average gas price might motivate enough of the market to look to larger SUVs again, that the smaller SUV segment might temporarily fizzle out and ruin the Renegade Jr.’s chances.
Jeep’s got a few years to decide.
News Sources: Car Buzz, Auto Express, Autocar