During this year’s Shanghai Motor Show Jeep showcased the Yuntu Concept. While the brand is calling it a China-only showing, the hybrid concept may foreshadow what’s ahead for the Jeep brand globally.
The Yuntu is specifically a 7-seater crossover that is powered by a plug-in hybrid powertrain. FCA says the powertrain can go 40 miles on battery power before it needs to convert over to the Yuntu’s gasoline engine to continue forward. It even includes the ability to charge wirelessly, according to FCA.
The fact Jeep opted to show the Yuntu at the Shangahi show comes as little surprise. SUVs mark the fastest growing market segment in China, while the Chinese government is offering incentives for plug-in vehicles to aid in the country’s pollution problems. So the Yuntu seems like a natural fit for that particular market.
However, Yuntu could be foreshadowing Jeep’s future beyond China. It was designed at FCA’s Chinese joint venture company, GAC FCA. While it looks very much like a Jeep, it has some new design features that could preview the next Grand Cherokee or Grand Wagoneer.
“From 2018, Yuntu’s design features will be reflected in the new models of GAC FCA, from fossil fuel to alternative-energy vehicles,” Daphne Zheng, Jeep’s sales chief in China, reported Automotive News.
Given Jeep is one of FCA’s most global brands these days, it’s very plausible to assume Zheng’s statement extends beyond just Jeep models sold in China.