Wait?! What?! A hybrid Wrangler?!
Last week Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne stated that he wants yearly Jeep sales to reach 1.9 million units by 2018. That’s nearly double the amount from 2014, with 1 million new Jeeps sold. Along with the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee, it’s the Jeep Wrangler that’s proven to be a smash hit. The new Renegade will also likely sell very well. With that in mind and the expected discontinuation of the Compass/Patriot in the near future, Jeep is reportedly looking to find some sort of replacement(s) for them, but what exactly?
According to Autocar, Jeep is currently looking at the possibility of launching an even smaller SUV/crossover slotted below the Renegade. Jeep CEO Mike Manly confirmed the brand is closely watching the fast emerging small SUV market to see if there’s a business case to be made. At the same time, work continues on the next generation Wrangler. Last week we reported on the possibility of a Wrangler pickup variant but, again, the profitability numbers have yet to add up. And now Auto Express is claiming that Manly hinted to them at Detroit last week that hybrid tech is a possibility for the redesigned Wrangler, which should debut sometime in 2017.
“For those people who use the Wrangler, the most important thing is the initial torque and the crawl ratio. With an electric motor you have the most torque available and with the right combination of transmission and gear ratios you can create incredible crawl rates," stated Manly. However, Manly also admitted that any sort of Wrangler hybrid could be problematic: "If you are eight hours and four miles into a trail, there is not a hybrid that we could do which could provide the battery support." We honestly don’t see a Wrangler hybrid happening any time soon, but a diesel option really ought to be a no-brainer. The engine is already there – a 3.0-liter V6. Just our friendly suggestion.