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New models to revive Jeep

ELECTRIC: Seven-seat Grand Cherokee and optional plug-in hybrid model to help Jeep’s sales boost.

Sales accelerating but still short of the heady 2014 highs

11 Apr 2022

JEEP is hoping for a further sales boost after successfully launching the first of its electric models in the US this week. The brand will debut its seven-seat Grand Cherokee in Australia next month.


It will follow up the Grand Cherokee in Australia with a five-seat version in the second half of this year and the 4xe plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version in the first quarter of next year.


The 4xe version of the Wrangler, launched in the US in July last year, is not confirmed for Australia. The model is claimed by Stellantis to be the best-selling PHEV – and the third most popular EV – in the US in the second quarter of 2021, outselling the equivalent Toyota RAV4, and that by mid-2021, its production allocation for the calendar year was sold out. 


The push to new models in new sectors is an exciting time for Jeep, which is regaining sales ground lost since its 2014 high when annual sales hit 30,408 units. 


In 2019, sales were 5519 units, climbing to 5748 in 2020 and to 7762 in 2021. There have been 1784 Jeeps sold in the first three months of this year, which, when annualised, could see 2022 sales of about 7200.


Building sales and supporting dealers and customers are keys. The brand has come from a powerhouse position in 2012 through to 2015 when its Grand Cherokee was often the top-selling SUV.


Jeep had a strong 6.6 per cent SUV market share in 2012, but in 2021, it was 1.2 per cent.


Through the past decade, the Grand Cherokee has been the major contributor to the brand’s success. It opened in 2013 with a 60 per cent of the brand’s sales, compared with the Wrangler at 13 per cent. 


By 2022, the Grand Cherokee’s stake was 40 per cent – trimmed by interest in the Compass and, to a lesser extent, the Gladiator – while the Wrangler held its own at 14 per cent.


Adjustments to lift sales are coming in a few forms, including electrification.


PHEV versions of the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee use the same drivetrains, with a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol and two electric motors. The Grand Cherokee has a 34km electric range.


It’s the beginning of a trend adopted by other brands. Jeep CEO Christian Meunier said Jeep would have a full EV in every SUV segment by 2025. 


The global future also includes a baby Jeep with full-electric drivetrain and two motors driving the axles for all-wheel drive. It will sit on the Stellantis eCMP platform also allocated for small vehicles including vans for Peugeot, Citroen, Opel and Vauxhall brands.


Jeep hasn’t confirmed a return of the small Renegade, which is still selling well in Europe but was dropped – attributed to poor sales sparked by a weak currency exchange rate – from the Australian line up in early 2020 after five years on the market. 


That too comes with a PHEV option.


Meanwhile, Jeep will stay with the five core models – Grand Cherokee, Gladiator, Compass, Wrangler and Cherokee – with the sales ladder in that order. It’s interesting that Gladiator sales are close to double that of the Wrangler.

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