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Jeep, America’s iconic 4x4 SUV and pick-up maker, has shifted to the fast lane in its drive towards a zero emissions future, with no turbo-diesel or V8 engine offered in the latest version of its Grand Cherokee flagship.
Asked about the brand’s decision to bring the new, seven-seat Grand Cherokee L to Australia without the option of the 5.7-litre Hemi V8 offered in the USA, or turbo-diesel power, Stellantis Australia and NZ managing director Kevin Flynn told CarsGuide: “Clearly the route forward is first PHEV, and then it’s full electrification. And I think that journey’s going to be pretty quick.”
The mention of PHEV refers to the Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe (four-by-e) due for local launch in the second half of 2022, and Mr Flynn cited the cost of homologating multiple engines for Australia’s relatively small market as a secondary, more short-term consideration.
“It’s a case of how much investment goes into giving a range of engines, and what is the necessity for that range of engines,” he said.
According to Mr Flynn: “Where companies are with their development and investment in diesel will determine how long they’re going to carry on with it. But the bottom line is we’re coming to the end of diesel. We see that in so many markets already, across the world.
“Australia isn’t the biggest car market,” he said. “And I think what will happen in Australia will not necessarily be to meet the immediate demands and desires of Australians, because it’s going to be, well, what’s available?
“If you look at the US and Europe, that’s what’s going to drive a lot of what products are now developed.
“I will lose volume because we haven’t got a diesel, but I don’t think that’s going to have an impact on us and what we’re going to achieve with this car.”
Maximum braked towing capacity in the Grand Cherokee has dropped from 3.5 tonnes in the outgoing fourth-generation model, to 2.8 tonnes in the 3.6-litre naturally aspirated V6 petrol-powered fifth-gen version (2.3 tonnes in the top-spec Summit Reserve).
Stellantis senior vice president, India and Asia Pacific region, sales, marketing, and regional operations, Billy Hayes confirmed the Jeep brand’s rapidly evolving powertrain strategy, telling CarsGuide: “The new power is going to be EV. We are moving towards doing the right thing for the planet. It’s what consumers increasingly want, it’s what governments support. We have a responsibility.
“Stellantis is now the world’s fourth largest automaker. A company exists to deliver shareholder value and take care of customers, but we have a duty to the planet at the same time. That’s the larger mission, that’s the larger purpose for Stellantis,” he said.