Some automakers are synonyms with specific characteristics. Ferrari and Lamborghini are synonymous with Italian power and performance. Rolls-Royce and Bentley are quintessential marquees known for their opulence and luxury. Then there’s Jeep, which is known for its ruggedness and off-road capabilities. It figures then that when news first broke in 2015 that Jeep was going hybrid with some of its models, it was, to say the least, jarring to the senses. Fast forward to the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show and we finally get to see what a Jeep hybrid looks like in the form of the Yuntu, a three-row, seven-seater, full-sized SUV concept that’s laying the groundwork for a new era in the company’s long and illustrious history.
To be clear, there’s no official word yet from Jeep about the production prospects of the Yuntu Concept. There is, however, a strong possibility that we’re headed in that direction anyway. Remember, Jeep CEO Mike Manley has been a strong advocate of dipping the company in the hybrid market, most recently confirming at the 2017 Geneva Motor Showthe arrival of a hybrid version of the Wrangler. The Yuntu, of course, is far different from the Wrangler, both in aesthetics and purpose. But the mere sight of the concept in Shanghai is an indication that the brand has a more elaborate hybrid plan that will involve numerous models receiving this specific powertrain. Just goes to show how brand images are now giving way to addressing the future of the auto industry.