While the Jeep Yuntu concept is a China-only seven-seater SUV, its new design language, as well as its plug-in hybrid powertrain, could set a precedent for the brand’s upcoming models in other markets.
Allow us to tell you, once again, what happens behind the scenes in our line of work. Storytelling and adding insight is great in a car review or a news piece, but obtaining accurate information related to a new vehicle can be quite difficult at times. Take, for instance, the Jeep Yuntu concept. Jeep’s parent company, FCA, is currently shying away from sharing any details about the new model. And there’s a very good reason for that, the company doesn’t want to give us any false hopes. The only bit of info that we have about the Yuntu is that it’s going to be a China-specific product. That also explains why the concept car made its debut in Shanghai, and not in any other part of the world. But, does lack of information mean that it won’t make it to the other parts of the world? We don’t think so…
Designed for China
Designed by the style centre at Auburn Hills – like every model from the Jeep brand – the Yuntu has been a joint effort of teams based in the USA and the Asia Pacific region. “The cooperation,” explains Jeep, “started from the initial phase of research and went on throughout the whole process, till the actual execution of the project.” What was the goal of this four-handed approach, you ask? “Intercepting the tastes and preferences of Chinese drivers.” Because, behind the wall of confidentiality that surrounds the prototype, there is something more concrete – in China (where Jeep already manufactures the Renegade, Compass and Cherokee), SUVs are hugely popular. With the Yuntu, the American manufacturer aims at expanding the brand’s presence in this growing segment, as well as demonstrating its commitment towards the market.
Plug-in arrives. Finally!
The Yuntu may have been developed keeping a single market in mind, but there’s a broader message that’s being delivered by this concept – one related to the powertrain. The show car that was displayed in Shanghai is the first hybrid plug-in in the history of the Jeep brand. And why Jeep chose to introduce this technology in China is also quite simple to understand. Electric vehicles are rapidly gaining popularity in the Chinese market, thanks to generous government incentives, a faster legislative process and the effective promotion of battery powered vehicles. All of this has made Chinese car buyers more sensitive to this issue.
The Yuntu, however, doesn’t promise an out-and-out electric version as yet. There will be a plug-in hybrid though. Apart from this, Jeep hasn’t revealed any significant details about the powertrain. There’s news that it’ll have wireless charging and a 40 kilometre all-electric range. The only other concrete information we’ve got thus far is that the plug-in technology is already available within the group. But Mike Manley, the CEO of Jeep, has told us that the debut of a hybrid plug-in powertrain on a Jeep will only happen in 2020.
The Yunto showcases a possible new direction for the design of the Jeep brand - check its laser cut LED lamps. Meanwhile, it has a large glasshouse and a panoramic roof to make the cabin feel airy.
Even the rear of this Jeep gets a pair of sleek tail lamps. In the pair of pictures above, you’ll note 11 displays around the cabin and an extra flexible configuration with six individual seats.
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