Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV plans to show off a plug-in hybrid concept of the Jeep Grand Wagoneer on Thursday, hinting at the company’s electrification strategy as it expands the prized Jeep brand into the three-row SUV segment.
The Italian-American automaker is bringing back the nameplate of the Wagoneer, a boxy station wagon retired in the 1990s, as a sleeker and more upscale sport-utility vehicle that can compete against rivals such as General Motors Co.’s GMC Yukon and Toyota Motor Corp.’s Sequoia.
The Grand Wagoneer concept will have an “advanced electric vehicle powertrain” and a “zero-emission, near-silent driving experience,” according to documents seen by Bloomberg.
That would put it in the same league as Ford Motor Co.’s Lincoln Aviator plug-in hybrid.
A spokesman for Fiat Chrysler declined to comment.
The automaker, whose late Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne resisted heavy investment in electric vehicles as a loss-making endeavor, is now electrifying its Jeep lineup as global emissions regulations tighten.
It’s introducing a hybrid Jeep Compass and Jeep Renegade in Europe and plans to debut a hybrid version of the Wrangler, dubbed 4x4e, on Thursday.
Fiat Chrysler indicated it would build a plug-in version of the Wagoneer for 2022 in its five-year plan laid out in 2018. It’s unclear if the plug-in technology showcased in the concept Thursday will make it into a production model of the vehicle.
A hybrid Wagoneer would compete against other gas and electric-powered plug-in SUVs such as Ford’s Aviator, the Volvo XC90 PHEV and plug-in Mitsubishi Outlander.
While Fiat Chrysler helped define the SUV segment with its iconic off-roading Wrangler, it has been absent from the largest size and highly lucrative SUV category with three rows of seats.
The automaker is set to start production of gas-powered Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneers at its Warren, Michigan, plant next year.