Jeep Pondering Gas-Powered Recon And Wagoneer S As It Seeks 1M Sales This Year

EV and off-roading enthusiasts—this humble writer included—got a nice surprise when Jeep announced its first-ever all-electric off-roader in the shape of the upcoming Recon back in 2022.

Scheduled to go on sale this year, the Recon can be considered the battery-powered alternative to the iconic Wrangler. Just like its stablemate, the EV will come with removable doors for that open-air wheeling sensation that’s synonymous with the Jeep name. But what if the Recon, along with its platform-sharing, more upmarket Wagoneer S brother were to be available with a combustion engine also?

Jeep seems prepared to do whatever it takes for that 1M sales target

Jeep made some waves two years ago when it announced two new all-electric models for the U.S. market, the Recon and Wagoneer S. Now though, the company’s CEO hinted that the two zero-emissions SUVs could get gas-powered versions if it would help the brand achieve its sales targets.

Jeep wants to sell one million cars in the United States this year. The Stellantis-owned American carmaker hasn’t come close to this figure since 2018 when it sold a record 973,227 cars stateside. Last year, Jeep’s numbers were down to 643,000 units, so adding more than 350,000 cars on top of 2023’s performance will be a tough game to master, but one that CEO Antonio Filosa reckons will be doable.

To make it happen, Filosa said during an Automotive News Europe interview that the upcoming Wagoneer S and Recon EVs will play a big role in turning things around. The two mid-size electric SUVs will have to compete in what is arguably one of the most competitive segments in the U.S., one that’s currently dominated by the Tesla Model Y.

However, unlike Tesla, which only makes battery-powered cars, Jeep is using the STLA large platform developed by parent company Stellantis. This architecture, while designed to natively accommodate an electric powertrain, can also be home to a combustion-powered setup, including a hybrid. And it’s this flexibility that can make or break Jeep’s sales plan for this year. 

Speaking about the possibility of the all-electric Recon and Wagoneer S being transformed into gasoline models, Filosa didn’t mince words. If there will be an opportunity for combustion versions, “we need to grab them or somebody else will,” he said for Automotive News Europe.

The same STLA Large platform underpins the 2024 Dodge Charger which will first be available with an all-electric drivetrain and then come to market with gas options, as well. But while that car is marketed as a muscle car–either electric or otherwise–what will become of the Jeep Recon if it gets the gasoline treatment?

There’s already the Wrangler in that spot, which is also sold as a plug-in hybrid, so Jeep might find itself struggling for answers to questions nobody asked in the first place. The Wagoneer S—if converted to gasoline—will also share the midsize seat in Jeep’s portfolio with the Cherokee.

We’ve seen this before at Stellantis with the Ram 1500 pickup. First, the company revealed the Ram 1500 REV all-electric pickup and then surprised the world with an extended-range plug-in hybrid called the Ram 1500 Ramcharger. Will the same strategy work at Jeep? We’ll just have to wait and see.