Jeep looks set to abandon the current trend towards SUVs in favour of designs that hark back to the brand’s off-roader heritage, according to Stellantis Chief Marketing Officer Olivier Francois. The American brand, which was formed in 1945 as a purely military operation under the name Willys–Overland Motors as a purely military operation was at the forefront of the SUV movement in the 1990s with cars such as the Cherokee.
Now, according to Francois, Stellantis wants to refocus the brand to make its products instantly recognisable as Jeeps. “Jeep needs to be Jeep again. A brand needs a purpose - a real purpose otherwise it will die. If it doesn’t have a reason to exist, you just have a commodity.”
Francois confirmed that an all-electric Wrangler was high on Jeep’s list of priorities, and suggested that the brand’s imminent Avenger SUV might be the first and last of its kind as the brand takes on a new direction. “For Jeep, we need Wrangler in a relevant way – electrified of course – and maybe less SUV form.”
Although Jeep is one of the world’s oldest car brands, its popularity in the key European market has dropped significantly in recent years. In the UK alone, the brand has suffered a 63 percent plunge in sales in the past year. Boss Francois sees Stellantis (which was a 50/50 merger between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the French PSA Group) as the perfect home for a brand such as Jeep. With access to a vast range of new platforms, parts and production facilities, Jeep is likely to undergo a significant reboot over the coming years.