Open door? Jeep approves petrol Avenger for more markets
Stellantis South Africa has admitted interest in bringing the Avenger to market, but not in 2023.
Petrol will lose the blue “e” badge on the grille. Image: Jeep.
Although launched at the end of last year as Jeep’s first electric vehicle, parent company, Stellantis, has done a u-turn by expanding the petrol engine derivative’s wheel tracks to more countries in Europe.
Demand for petrol
Originally introduced with both electric and combustion engines, the latter only for Italy, Spain and Poland where production takes place, high demand has resulted in Jeep availing the Avenger to other key EU markets, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, where sales until now have been limited to the EV model.
Compared to its sibling, the combustion engine Avenger’s key exterior differences comprise the removal of the charging flap from the front wing, the eschewing of the blue “e” badge on the grille and addition of a single exhaust outlet at the rear.
According to Australia’s drive.com.au, citing a report from Automotive News Europe, the introduction of the petrol Avenger not only stems from demand, but also the downturn in EV sales on the Old Continent as a result of certain countries’ incentives favouring electric vehicles decreasing in recent months.
At the same time, motor1.com Italy reports that of the 7 214 Avengers sold between January and May this year, only 962 were electric and the rest petrol. It should be noted though that three-quarters of all examples sold so far have been in Italy.
ICE vs EV
Like the EV Avenger, the petrol rides on the CMP platform, but swap the 54-kWh battery pack that develops 115kW/260Nm, for a turbocharged 1.2-litre three-cylinder PureTech engine developing 74kW/205Nm.
A six-speed manual is the sole transmission option with drive, like in the EV, going to the front wheels only.
In the mentioned European market, pricing is expected to start at €27 000 (R547 055), a credit of some €10 000 (R202 613) over the EV equivalent.
South Africa has expressed interest
The expansion of the combustion engine Avenger to more markets is unlikely to be a one-off as apart from Europe, Stellantis South Africa has expressed interest in bringing it to market at some stage.
“[South Africa] are one of the countries in the planning, but don’t expect to see it next year,” Stellantis South Africa’s Sales and Marketing Head, Brain Smith, told The Citizen at the unveiling of the Alfa Romeo Tonale in Cape Town last year.
Should approval be given, projections are that the Avenger could come to South Africa in 2024, however, nothing so far been announced and thus remains purely speculative.