The arrival of the fifth-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee was superseded by the introduction of a new family member: the three-row 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L, which stretches the midsize SUV to accommodate seven passengers. The new Grand Cherokee L is being assembled at Stellantis’ new $1.6 billion Detroit Assembly Complex’s Mack Avenue plant and is already arriving at dealerships.
As for the newest version of the conventional five-passenger Grand Cherokee, which we have yet to see, we now know it will go into production this fall. The timing was confirmed by Stellantis chief financial officer Richard Palmer during a first-quarter earnings call with investors.
Also coming before year’s end is the Grand Cherokee 4xe plug-in hybrid. Officials are not saying whether the latecomers will be 2021 or 2022 models but expect the latter.
Also starting production this fall are the big daddies of the Jeep brand: the 2022 Jeep Wagoneer and the more luxurious 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer. Both are large three-row luxury SUVs that use a version of the same body-on-frame platform as the Ram 1500 pickup truck. The Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are higher-ticket SUVs than the Grand Cherokee.
During the call, Palmer said a notable vehicle product launch in the first quarter was the Opel Mokka in Europe. The model returns to the market after being discontinued in 2019.
Semiconductor Chip Shortage Hurts Stellantis
The impact of the industry-wide semiconductor shortage resulted in 190,000 units of lost production—an 11 percent hit—for Stellantis. Palmer said the impact was less than it was for some of its competitors. Ford has said it could lose half its planned production in the second quarter and is braced to lose $2.5 billion for the full year. General Motors has already taken about 80,000 units out of North American production and continues to say the shortage could result in $1.5 billion to $2 billion in lost earnings. The chip shortage will have an even bigger impact on Stellantis in the second quarter, but Palmer said he expects an improvement in the second half of the year.
While Stellantis has no intention of getting into the semiconductor business, the automaker wants more visibility into the various tiers of the supply chain for the intelligence to react faster when parts shortages emerge in the future, the CFO said. Stellantis is also trying to use more standard and interchangeable parts.
Strong First Quarter Earnings
Stellantis was formed on January 16 with the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Group. Full financial results for the new company were not provided because the merger was finalized a few weeks into the quarter. But Stellantis did report net revenues of $41.2 billion since January 17 and said that if the merger had happened on January 1, then the company would have had net revenues of $44.5 billion, up 14 percent from a year ago.
The new company is only 100 days old, but work is well underway to use capital more efficiently. “The merger gives us the opportunity to clean up the house, on both sides,” Palmer said.
Additionally, the growing number of plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles in the portfolio means that Stellantis does not need to buy environmental credits (two-thirds of which come from Tesla) to be compliant with emissions regulations in Europe. Stellantis has about 25 electrified nameplates in Europe with another six coming this year, Palmer said.
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