The new entry-level Jeep SUV (codename Jeep 526), will enter production in July 2022, says a new report from Automotive News Europe. The launch would be followed by a pure-electric variant, but the Jeep electric SUV could be a forbidden fruit for the U.S. market much like the Commander model that is a China-special.
The dimensions of the car is the main reason we feel the baby Jeep electric SUV is unsuited for the American market. The Jeep 526 would be a size smaller than the Renegade and there’s not much demand to take the effort of adapting it for the United States. There were hopes earlier when it was thought that the small Jeep would ride on Jeep Renegade’s platform – Small-Wide 4×4.
eCMP platform to underpin the Jeep electric SUV
Merging with Groupe PSA into the new entity Stellantis opens new avenues for FCA. One of the resources at its disposal is CMP or Common Modular Platform, the low-cost platform Groupe PSA co-developed with Chinese company Dongfeng Motors. Automotive News states that the upcoming entry-level Jeep SUV will ride on CMP, and there are many advantages it would allow over the Small-Wide 4×4 platform.
Unlike the Small-Wide 4×4 platform, CMP doesn’t allow fitting a four-wheel drive system. However, according to ANE’s supplier sources, the new Jeep small SUV could still get a four-wheel drive variant with an electric motor at the rear axle. The report is likely referring to its plug-in hybrid variant, which was confirmed along with its announcement in June 2018 and so the new Jeep small SUV will get to wear the 4xe badge.
The true advantage CMP offers over the Small-Wide 4×4 platform is that it is ready for full electrification. There’s an EV-specific variant of this platform, called eCMP, which Opel, Peugeot, Citroen, and DS already use in the European portfolio.
In June 2018, there was no plan to offer a pure electric variant of the new small Jeep SUV, probably because, among other possible reasons, it would not have been possible with the Small-Wide 4×4 platform. Now, thanks to CMP (eCMP), the baby Jeep will be electric-ready and thus future-proof. The derivative could go on sale around late 2023 in the international market. It would be a mechanical relative to the Citroen eCC21.
The Jeep 526 could break cover in India at the next Auto Expo, which is expected to take place in early 2022. That is likely to be its biggest market worldwide and a main production center.
Featured Image Source: FCA/Stellantis