TURIN – Jeep is reversing its marketing strategy for the Avenger and will now offer a gasoline variant of the small SUV in all of Europe’s largest markets, adding sales of the gasoline version in Germany, France and the U.K.
Stellantis’s offroad brand unveiled its smallest model in October at the Paris auto show as a full-electric model. At that time, the automaker planned to sell a gasoline variant only in Italy and Spain, where EV sales are slower than in northern Europe.
When sales of the Avenger started in April, Jeep also added the gasoline version in Poland, where the model is built in Stellantis’s plant in Tychy, southwest of Warsaw.
Jeep decided in June to open orders for the gasoline variant in France and Germany after noticing that brokers were offering ICE models at a premium price in these markets. The brand will also start sales of the gasoline Avenger in the U.K. this month.
The decision to expand sales of the gasoline Avenger was "pragmatic" and does not change the brand's long-term plan to sell only electric models in Europe by 2030, Jeep's Europe CEO, Eric Laforge, told Automotive News Europe.
The move protects Jeep's franchised dealers who were losing potential sales, Laforge said. It also protects customers who will need their gasoline Avengers servicing, he said.
Balancing EV and ICE offerings
Stellantis is not the only mass-market brand struggling to find a good balance in European markets for all-electric and combustion engine models.
During a recent roundtable interview, Toyota Chairman Akio Toyoda praised battery-electric cars but said a lot of the world is not ready to make the switch to full electrification.
“When we look worldwide, there are about 1 billion people who will be among our customer base that do not have enough charging infrastructure in place. Therefore, if we say that BEVs are the only option that we should pursue, what will happen to these people who do not have enough infrastructure?” Toyoda said.
In comments echoing this, Laforge said charging infrastructure varied in Europe’s major markets, which had led to the automaker choosing to initially launch the ICE version in southern European countries.