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Jeep pledges to bring 1 electric vehicle every year to S. Korea

Jeep 4xe vehicles are parked next to an electric vehicle charging station. (Jeep Korea)
Jeep 4xe vehicles are parked next to an electric vehicle charging station. (Jeep Korea)

Starting with the Wrangler 4xe, Jeep will bring at least one electrified vehicle annually in South Korea from this year onward, the brand’s chief executive officer said, expressing determination to meet their goal for a carbon-free future.

Holding a media roundtable Wednesday, Christian Meunier touted the auto company’s record sales in four countries -- South Korea, Japan, Australia and India -- and said it plans to introduce more electrified vehicles into the markets. The press event was embargoed till Friday.

The four countries are where the brand has established direct sales operations in the Asia-Pacific region.

“We have plans to bring more EVs -- plug-in hybrid EVs and battery EVs -- in the Korean market, at least one model by every year, starting with Wrangler 4xe this year,” Meunier said. The Wrangler 4xe is the battery electric vehicle variant of their iconic model.

For the first half of this year, Jeep Korea has seen record-high sales of almost 6,000 units, more than a 41 percent increase on-year, the company said. This figure is up 24 percent when compared to the sales of the first half of 2019. The iconic Wrangler captured 28 percent of the sales in the first half of this year, and Renegade owns 24 percent of the share so far, the company added.

Going over the milestones of the brand’s achievements, the executive explained how Jeep has expanded its manufacturing facilities, from four plants in the United States to 10 in six countries over the past decades, and reiterated the company’s commitment for electrification.

“4xe is the new 4x4, that’s what we call internally and that’s what we believe it is,” Meunier said.

“For 80 years, the Jeep brand has been built on strong values and have never departed from there -- freedom, adventure, authenticity and passion. Electrification really celebrate and amplify the four values.”

According to Jeep, it aims to introduce the electrified models under the name “4xe” in all of their SUV segments by 2025 globally and, while the portions may vary by country, the automotive brand aims to achieve 70 percent of global sales from electric vehicles.

Jeep also hinted at possible design changes for its electric vehicles, as electrification opens up room for a whole new way of building a car, Jeep’s Exterior Design Director Mark Allen said.

“What electrification allows us in a designer’s perspective is that we are now able to move big architectural pieces around that was not an option in our previous products,” Allen said.

“For example, we can put front storage, move wheels for better positioning, and so forth, offers different design solutions which is very exciting. Through this, I think we can make much more efficient package for the vehicle.”

Jake Aumann, managing director for the Korean branch of the Jeep brand, said the 80th anniversary event held in Seoul in March was a success, and was an opportunity for the brand and customers to bond.

“It certainly was the first of its kind to have an off-road event in downtown Seoul to celebrate the 80th anniversary with Jeep owners, customers and fans. It was really something that was brought to us by our fans and owners,” said Aumann, who also took part in the media roundtable.

“It was certainly a reminder that seeing a Jeep is much more different than experiencing a Jeep. As long as COVID-19 allows us, more events like that is coming soon.”

By Jo He-rim (