Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ commitments to a new-energy future finally are coming to fruition as the plug-in hybrid Jeep Wrangler SUV leads the automaker’s efforts with its launch this year, the company’s CEO Mike Manley said Friday.
“Jeep’s icon the Wrangler will arrive on the market with a 4xe version that will be on the front line of our electrification strategy in North America,” he said during the automaker’s annual general meeting held online because of the COVID-19 pandemic. All electrified Jeeps will carry the 4xe badge.
A 4xe Wrangler did appear in January at the CES trade show in Las Vegas, though few details were available. The company is planning a proper global reveal of the new vehicle for the third quarter, Manley said, and it will arrive in U.S. showrooms before the end of the year with availability in Europe and China to follow in early 2021.
The hybrid model is a part of Jeep’s efforts to offer electrified versions of all of its vehicles by 2022, though up until now most efforts have focused on China and Europe because they have stricter carbon emissions standards. Orders for the plug-in versions of the Jeep Compass and Renegade crossovers will be available in certain European markets by early July.
Manley did not make mention of other Jeeps the automaker has said it intends to electrify in the future, including the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer. The plant in Warren that will assemble the new SUVs had its last day scheduled Friday before retooling.
Fiat Chrysler’s luxury Maserati brand also has electrification plans in the works and intends to hold an event in September with more details on its innovation and customization plans. It will include the debut of the MC20 sports car and a new powertrain developed for the brand.
The company did confirm it does not expect to close its merger with French automaker Groupe PSA until the later part of its guidance in the first quarter of 2021. This comes after the European Union’s executive body announced a four-month investigation into the deal with regard to the tie-up’s potential light commercial vehicle market share.
“This review is not expected to delay our timetable to completion,” Manley said. “And both companies will continue to engage with the European Commission in the same constructive spirit that has defined our proposal from the outset.”
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