The Jeep Avenger winning 2023 Car of the Year must be one of the most unlikely success stories in the industry.
When it was unveiled in the fall, the European-designed, engineered and built Avenger showed that the renowned US 4×4 brand is finally taking Europe seriously and is ready to make a lasting impression here. Billed as a jeep.
But when compact SUVs like the Renegade and Compass were launched in different segments, comments like the one we heard earlier turned out to be more favorable (or not) for European buyers.
So there was a fair amount of skepticism about the announcement that Jeep sales in Europe would nearly double from its peak of 168,652 in 2018 to 300,000.
But three months later, the Avenger set a completely unexpected indicator of Jeep’s future prospects. It’s very nice to drive and its size and positioning are truly unique for an electric car. All of this means that Jeep’s lofty European ambitions need no longer be viewed with skepticism. The sky is the limit.
“This is a huge compliment for a team of over 1000 people and a huge recognition for the product,” said Jeep European boss Antonella Bruno of the success of Avenger mastermind COTY.
Bruno is as candid as Jeep CEO Christian Meunier was in the fall about Jeep’s challenges in Europe. “We suffered without a proper engine, seen as too aggressive and polluted,” she told me on the eve of Avenger’s COTY victory in Belgium.
The company has started tackling this problem with plug-in hybrid versions of the Compass and Renegade. This is “the first phase of electrification that the brand has already achieved” and now “Avenger adds another level and accelerates its growth”.