It’s no secret that Jeep, once the crown jewel of multinational automaker Stellantis, is now struggling. While Ford enthusiasts might ascribe the brand’s travails to the Bronco’s success, the fact is there are likely multiple reasons for its recently flailing in the market. But Jeep’s insistence on jumping onto the EV bandwagon to join all the “cool kids” could make things far worse.
Jeep hasn’t exactly snuck around about its intentions to go all-electric, lining up with the mindless mantra often repeated by automotive media outlets: the future is electric. The only problem is there have been some serious cracks forming in the EV dam and the all-electric future looks to be in serious peril. That’s why competitors, including Ford, have been hedging their bets by investing in other propulsion technologies.
But, as pointed out in a recent Electrek article, UAW President Shawn Fain spilled the beans about Stellantis pressing forward with EV versions of the Jeep Wrangler and Grand Cherokee in addition to new EV platforms which were announced a little over a year ago. The storied off-road brand seems determined to embrace a brave new world order being at the forefront of change.
Even if EV adoption were still accelerating, which there are plenty of indicators it is instead slowing, this isn’t a brilliant move. After all, the countless trail rats who have helped sustain Jeep throughout the years absolutely aren’t interested in this bold new direction. Some are even offended and threatened by it. Laugh at that all you want, we’ve seen examples recently of what happens to companies which decided to insult their customer base.
It's likely Jeep wants to draw in a wealthier, more “sophisticated” customer so it can become the new Land Rover, in a way. The problem is by gunning for the highbrow elitists who think “glamping” is the only way to truly experienced the outdoors while leaning into trendy and risky technologies, Jeep could become like Land Rover in every way.
Sure, Wrangler 4xe sales have been strong, but that’s not unusual for a new product launch in this industry. Will they remain consistently high year after year? That’s the big question we don’t have the answer to. Instead, Jeep and Stellantis are going to forge ahead, afraid to get “left in the dust” by the competition that’s already reigning in its obviously overexuberant EV strategies. If Jeep isn’t careful, it could end up riding the bandwagon right off the cliff.
Images via Stellantis