Jeep has outlined its aims to lead the rollout of hybrid and electric vehicles in markets including Australia, despite slow-to-react governments and lagging emissions regulations that have held other car makers back.
Speaking to Australian and Asian media in a roundtable event earlier this week, Jeep brand CEO Christian Meunier described how the American off-road brand won't wait for other car makers to launch hybrid and electric vehicles before introducing its own, nor will it wait for governments to strengthen emissions targets.
"Governments are starting to strengthen regulations and [emissions] compliance, and instead of just waiting for the governments to rule ... I would like to have a proactive approach in those markets [including Australia and Asia] and bring electrification upfront, because I think it is very special and very exciting for the customers.
"I am going to push for electrification as a leader, not as a follower. We’re not going to [be] after the other [car makers], we’re going to be first, and we’re going to do everything we can in all [global] regions," Meunier added.
The commitment to electrified vehicles in the Asia-Pacific region – comprising Australia, New Zealand, South-East Asia, and other nations and areas – comes as Jeep announces its goal for 70 per cent of its sales by 2025 to be electrified, using either mild-hybrid, 'conventional' self-charging hybrid, plug-in hybrid or all-electric power.
Above: Jeep Wrangler 4xe, not sold in Australia.
However, that target applies globally, rather than in Australia and surrounding nations – and Meunier concedes that our region might not hit the target, relying instead on areas such as Europe to balance out the global average.
"We were talking about 70 per cent of Jeep sales in 2025 at a global level [being] electrified … So that means some regions will probably be 95 per cent, [and] some regions will be at 20 per cent," said Meunier.
"To talk about Asia-Pacific, I think [it] is not homogeneous either. Between a market like Japan, or Korea, or Australia, or India, they are very, very different markets. So I would say some of these markets will for sure be above 30 per cent [in 2025]."
Meunier's comments on the rollout of electrified vehicles contrast those of brands such as Volkswagen, which claim their hybrid and electric vehicles continue to be prioritised for markets such as Europe over Australia, which have stricter emissions regulations – and heavy fines for not meeting them.
"Zero-emissions vehicles will be prioritised for those markets that have targets to meet ... Here there is no CO2 target, latent hostility to EVs [and taxes for] a new technology that is barely here," a Volkswagen Australia spokesperson has previously told CarAdvice.
Above: Jeep Compass 4xe, not sold in Australia (at the moment).
However, the Wrangler 4xe is built only in left-hand drive, and the entire Renegade range was axed from the Australian market in 2020 – meaning only the Compass 4xe has a chance of coming Down Under.
Jeep's Australian arm will kick off its electrification rollout locally with a plug-in hybrid version of the new Grand Cherokee five-seat SUV, due in local showrooms sometime in 2022. Initial images of this vehicle were revealed last week, ahead of full details at next month's New York motor show.
Parent company Stellantis' EV Day event last week saw Jeep confirm plans to offer an all-electric version in each of the segments it competes in by 2025, from the city Renegade to the full-size Grand Wagoneer.
Teaser images of a Suzuki Jimmy-like small SUV and a large GMC Hummer EV-rivalling off-roader were teased alongside the announcement.
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