Jeep: “A lot of companies are entering the crossover world, but we will remain boxy.”


Jeep’s European design chief tells the TG he’s happy to sacrifice range to give you decent headroom and trunk space

The designer of the new Jeep Avenger – Daniel Calonacci – is the right brand ambassador. This is the guy who owns a Wrangler Rubicon JKU (“fully modified” with a foldable bed, drawers, refrigerator, and rooftop tent) that he takes off on trips to Iran, Iceland, Sweden, Morocco, Turkey, Tunisia, the Balkans, and Turkey. Pyrenees, Portugal…

And by the way, this started from Turin; No need to charge the car to the end, just tens of thousands of kilometers of bold, epic adventures.

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So it should come as no surprise at all that Calonacci wants the cars he designs to be as useful as possible. “There are a lot of companies around the world that are entering the crossover world, but Jeep will remain more…a boxy world. Right now, people are asking for high ground clearance, or a leadership position. A lot of people need electric.”

The resulting cars don’t leave “room for real headroom,” he says. “So when you’re on the highway during the summer, you have a lot of crossovers with a roof box because they don’t have trunk space,” he continues. pocket It will remain boxy. Maybe we will lose a couple of kilometers in range, but in the end we will make our customer happy.

This is a bigger challenge than it might seem at first glance. UK managing director Julian Tilston talks about the need to “re-establish” the brand here, and in April, Christian Meunier, the company’s global president, told that its image had become “irrelevant”. Oh. He said: It has not developed. “It’s about the big engines and the Willys family.”

Now everything will be electric, including Jeep, by 2030. How does Calonassi deal with that? “We had a huge[legacy]story about these huge capacities and engines, but in the end we understood that we had to shift gears. Electricity has to be nicer for the future. When you go through what you need — torque and torque on demand — what’s the best engine you can get? ? electrical.

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“So we think electric vehicles should be ideal for the Jeep brand in the future. I think we have a huge (background) talking about big, powerful engines, but that power can be replaced with electricity. And it will probably be enhanced as well.”

That’s why the Avenger is such a vital car for the company. Expected to take up half of UK sales in the future (a 4×4 version, possibly with a hybrid powertrain, is on its way), it has been well received since its launch and was awarded European Car of the Year in January before being crowned City Car of the Year by . ..well, we are.

“Seeing it as a powerful electric product like this will change people’s perception of the brand,” explains Tisdale. “When we look at our brand metrics, if you tell someone about Jeep, they will Known pocket. But if you ask them to give you the model name, they won’t necessarily be able to tell you anything other than Wrangler. So a lot of what we need to do is become more relevant in the UK market, so that when people are thinking about buying their next car, Jeep is in the bin.”

Is Jeep being viewed as an off-road brand part of the problem, when the vast majority of people will only encounter gravel if it’s on their road? “One of the biggest challenges in the UK market is being a premium brand,” says Tilsdale. “The capabilities of our products continue to set us apart from the mainstream. What’s important to me is that that’s what customers see too. They’re not taking their cars off the road, but the reality is that they Owns Those abilities give reassurance. This is where our USP versus the mainstream still exists.

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“Especially with the Avenger. The style doesn’t scream ‘You have to go off-road in this car.’” The design is great: It’s a funky, beautifully designed car that just happens to be a Jeep.

Jeep believes its customers will evolve as a result. It’s making a big effort to attract younger buyers (previously the average buyer was 50 and male) and wants at least 40 percent of Avenger buyers to be female; Double the number of the current rebel. In a similar game plan to that of Volvo and its new EX30, Calonasi hopes Jeep can “crowd out” the younger audience that will end up with larger Jeeps in the brand (here it comes Which Word again) The electrified future.

“People are now a bit afraid of electricity, but they were afraid of the first train. I remember the history of the Parisian metro station: the architect was asked to make something really beautiful to put on the ground because people were not really happy with the reception of the Metropolitan. So I think we are working for a future Better, but certainly this is the first step.

It’s a big task indeed for the company’s smallest car…

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