By Giulio Piovaccari and Joseph White
MILAN/DETROIT (Reuters) - Jeep will launch four all-electric sport utility vehicles by the end of 2025 in a bid to lead in electrification of off-road vehicles, the company announced on Thursday, despite the Stellantis NV brand's late start.
Jeep brand executives previewed an all-electric Jeep Recon, inspired by the brand's petroleum-fueled Wrangler adventure vehicle, a Wagoneer S that will be a battery-electric companion to the brand's Grand Cherokee or Wagoneer family vehicles. They also previewed a small Jeep Avenger EV aimed at Europeans.
Jeep brand chief Christian Meunier said future electric Jeep models - including some not identified in presentations to reporters on Wednesday - will help Jeep meet challenges from other electric vehicle brands.
Rivian and Scout, as well as General Motors Co's reborn Hummer brand, are pitching their electric SUVs to would-be buyers with many of the same appeals to outdoor adventure and all-weather capability that Jeep has traded on for decades. Tesla's Model X and Model Y SUVs compete with Jeep for customers who like multi-purpose utility.
Meunier said the electric Recon and Wagoneer models, due to go on sale in 2024, and the European Avenger, scheduled to go on sale early 2023, should help the brand grow.
"We are not done with growth, but we want to do it in the right way," Meunier said, adding he could not provide volume projections for coming years.
Jeep is now aiming to have 50% of its U.S. sales and 100% of its European sales to be of fully electric vehicles by 2030, Meunier said.
Meunier said Jeep intends to offer its electric models in China, but he did not give specific plans. Stellantis in July said it would revamp its strategy for Jeep in China, ending a joint venture with Chinese automaker GAC and shifting toward an imported lineup.
In Europe, Jeep wants to use the Avenger to expand its share of the compact SUV segment, where it already offers the Renegade model, said Antonella Bruno, the brand's chief for Europe.
"The Avenger will target younger and more feminine customers," Bruno said.
Italy is currently Jeep's largest market in Europe, accounting for 50% of its sales in the region and the brand hopes to grow to Germany, France and the UK.
(Reporting by Giulio Piovaccari and Joe White; Editing by Josie Kao)