In the summer of 2004 I flew solo to Paris with the intention of meeting our son, who was at that time living outside the city in the 21st Arrondissement (sic.). My plan was to pick up a rental car at Charles de Gaulle Airport and make a beeline for the Paris suburbs. GPS on a phone was still only a gleam in some Silicon Valley developer’s eye in those days, so I did what had to be done in that age of the world: I printed out reams of pages from MapQuest.
Online reservations had been made at Europcar, so all I needed to do was pick up a car and motor through the sun wreathèd streets of Paris to my intended destination. I’d spent the flight from Heathrow practicing conversational French in my head so I could breeze through the line at the rental agency and soon be on my way. Of course, the man at Europcar took one look at me and broke straight into English, so my imagined scenarios were all in vain. The gent at the desk then tossed me the keys to a Peugeot 307 diesel five-speed, and after a trek through the airport garage I found the purplish four door hatch that would carry us for the next few weeks. The little Peugeot–awarded the European Car of the Year distinctions in 2002–made a good first impression, but as it had been some time since I’d driven a diesel I checked the owner’s manual for any critical info that I might lack. In reality, there was little need to adapt as the little oil-fired four started up without ritual or hesitation and I made my way into the swirling maelstrom that is Paris traffic.
After four or five laps of the Boulevard Périphérique and some ill-advised detours into central Paris, I despaired of ever finding my way home to Seattle again, let alone any proximity to the town where I was, in theory, headed. Printed maps proved to be of little service when I couldn’t take my eyes off the road for more than two seconds without risking utter destruction from the mad buggers on motorbikes threading their way between lanes at 115 km/h. At stop lights I would grab the sheaf of papers on the passenger seat and try to fix in my memory the names of streets where I was supposed to turn, but to little avail.
Long story short, I actually did find the proper route eventually and as a consequence I write this seated safely at home in the Pacific Northwest rather than in some Paris cafe in the Montemartre (which in retrospect doesn’t sound so bad). But once my son and I were reunited and we had onboard an actual navigator, finding the proper road became less problematic, although we still ended up lost for an admittedly large percentage of our travel time. For example, we actually ended up in Versailles, not by design, but because we had gone astray once again.
We did manage to head due west to Normandy and Bretagne on the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of D-Day and then pointed the Peugeot’s prow northward to Germany to visit family. The 307 ate up the Autoroutes and Autobahns and proved adept at cruising in the 150 km/h range without protest. We continued to get lost at an alarming rate–we had given up on finding the Aachen Cathedral when we noticed that we were driving straight past it–but always recovered and found that so long as we stayed out of the left lane on the Autobahn, we remained mostly safe and untrammeled by the executive class Mercedes and BMW’s whizzing past at startling speeds. The former European Car of the Year purple hatch served us well through all of our trials, and it was with some reluctance that we returned it to its airport base before heading by train across the Chunnel to Ellowen Deeowen (apologies to Salman Rushdie).
The reason for this rather long prologue is that I’ve been poring over the lists of European Car of the Year winners since its inception in 1964. Out of all those years, I count only nine of the honorees that I’ve actually driven, and most of those were produced before 1980. The Peugeot 307 mentioned above remains one of the exceptions, and the only one that I sampled on its native soil. It was also the one I drove the most miles (or rather kilometers), something in the neighborhood of 2000. Our car back at home at the time was a Mazda Protégé 2.0 liter, which had more oomph than the 1.6 liter diesel in our rental, but likely not much more top end given the 307’s gearing. The purple Peugeot may have been more handy in the utility sweepstakes given its four-door hatchback design, but in most areas the two cars manufactured half a world apart seemed comparable; still, the 307 remains memorable and has cast a rose-tinted glow on the entire Peugeot range to this day. All told, this is a roundabout introduction to the business at hand, which is the announcement that twenty years on one of Peugeot’s current stablemates has gone and won the European Car of the Year title for 2023.
For those of us residing on the left side of the Atlantic the annual to-do of selecting a European Car of the Year tends to fly over our heads, if for no reason other than the winner will likely never appear on our shores. Indeed, since the year 2000, only nine cars that won the laurel wreath were ever certified for sale in the USA. Of those that did attempt a landing, only the second generation Toyota Prius ever sold in what could be considered to be large numbers, although maybe a case could be made for the 2013 VW Golf and 2015 VW Passat. Otherwise we’re left with the last generation Fiat 500, the Jag-u-ar I-Pace, and Volvo XC-40. Oh, and the original Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt/Vauxhall Ampera.
As it is, any Car of the Year trophy is generally met with a yawn if not outright skepticism in the U.S. as the award is generally associated with the annual Motor Trend bagatelle, which has a somewhat suspect reputation given that it was given with much fanfare to such questionable choices as the Chevrolet Vega, Monte Carlo and Citation, the Plymouth Volare/Dodge Aspen, the Renault Alliance (!), and that pièce de résistance, the ’82 Chevy Camaro, which was unable to accept the trophy as a door and rear axle fell off on the way to the awards banquet. At best, the prize has been regarded as a marketing exercise designed to attract advertising dollars. A more cynical view would be that the winning manufacturer simply deposited a large check in the appropriate account in a calculated offer to outbid the competition.
A more realistic examination might suggest that Motor Trend was sometimes forced to choose the most presentable pick of a very inauspicious litter during the lean years of the ’70’s and ’80’s, together with the possibility of what looked good on paper might appear somewhat less promising in the metal. Nevertheless, any such award/marketing exercise tends to be taken with a large grain of salt despite the fact that Motor Trend’s record over the past decade seems to hold up reasonably enough. In any case, motoring enthusiasts tend to be a tough crowd with a long memory, so any journalistic sins tend to have a long shelf life.
The fact remains that the European Car of the Year is chosen by a more rigorous selection process than the solipsistic and USA-centric Motor Trend award as a jury of 59 journalists from 23 countries are appointed to vote for the winning vehicle. Jurors each have 25 votes at their disposal to award as they see fit, although the points aren’t distributed wily-nilly through the entire automotive universe–a short list is placed on the front porch in a mayonnaise jar and members divvy out their 25 points according to the dictates of their own consciences. You may wonder how the shortlist is created, and it seems your guess is as good as mine. The manner in which the total field itself is chosen seems perfunctory, as it is comprised of all new models introduced for sale during the course of any given year.
In 2023, the short list was comprised of the following: Volkswagen ID Buzz, Nissan Ariya, Kia Niro, Peugeot 408, Renault Austral, Subaru Solterra/Toyota bZ4X, and Jeep Avenger, The winner and champeen for the current year (drum roll) is the Jeep Avenger. What exactly, you may wonder, is a Jeep Avenger? Well . . . it’s complicated.
Stellantis, the latest ‘merger of equals’ in the automotive industry, has only been in existence since 2021, and in that time has managed to confirm itself as a force to be reckoned with. The merger and its consequences were discussed on this site more or less as breaking news. (http://QOTD: Stellantis – A Star Is Born, But Which One Are You Rooting For?) Given that two years have elapsed, maybe it’s time to revisit the multinational auto behemoth to observe the current state of affairs
With fourteen brands and two “mobility service business” (parts suppliers?) to juggle, Stellantis would appear to have a logistical nightmare on its hands. In a market on the verge of major disruption as it transitions to EV’s, coping with the development and marketing of all those marques would seem to verge on a constant state of chaos. Instead, we watch its CEO, one Carlos Tavares, keeps all those balls in the air with seeming ease. After acquiring Opel and Vauxhall, which had been economic drains on General Motors for decades, Tavares, as head of Groupe PSA before the Stellantis merger, turned Opel into the black within the space of a year. Those of us who feared that weaker brands under the corporate umbrella would immediately be shuttered came to find that Tavares had permitted those makers ten years, an entire decade, to turn their their ships around.
And, after the consensus among automotive observers opined that Fiat-Chrysler had no path forward to an EV future before the merger, a scant two years later we find an electrified Jeep has been awarded European Car of the Year. Now, certain caveats must be added at this point as the Avenger is not exactly a clean sheet design, but shares a platform with the Peugeot e-208, e-2008, as well as the Vauxhall Corsa Electric and Mokka, not to mention the DS 3. Consequently, it can be argued that all the engineering heavy lifting had been done, which is certainly true. The fact remains, though, that the Jeep personnel assigned the task completed their brief with something more than average success given the hardware now resting in the trophy case at company headquarters.
Gaining the attention of such a diverse jury may have been a monumental task in the first place as none of the accounts I’ve read from its members showed any predisposition to bestowing favor on the American interloper best known in Europe for the Cherokee, Compass and Wrangler, which may be serviceable enough, but not something that has set the continent on fire. To cite an example, the appointed juror from Top Gear, Paul Horrell, observes the following:
“This car caught me out. I expected to dislike it but experience proved the opposite. It’s very usefully small but drives like a refined bigger car. So it’s at home in cities and on the open road as well as in mildly rough going. (More than mildly rough with the coming 4xe.) Interior design and space use commend it too.”
Horrell’s initial dismissal was likely a common response and to have overcome it by producing a class-leading EV would seemingly demonstrate that M. Tavares’s organization has its ducks in a row. It’s one thing to jump on the EV bandwagon, another to engineer a class-leading vehicle on Jeep’s first attempt. Whether this success will precede others in the fiery furnace of the marketplace remains to be seen, as reliability (not a Jeep strength, historically), dealer network, and charging networks, among other factors will ultimately determine how the American upstart will thrive in the crowded European market.
At the same time, the accolades for the little Jeep pose other questions, and not only for Stellantis, one of which is how its many brands will survive amidst the changes that churn the automotive scene. On the one hand, Stellantis holds rights to a number of motoring icons including Alfa Romeo, Citroën, Lancia, and Maserati. The long-range outlook for those brands cannot be seen as particularly rosy, yet Tavares is giving them enough slack and time to see what happens.
And that result is not all that easy to predict, given that what could be perceived as a minor model produced by a brand with not a great deal of market penetration has proven to be competent and memorable. If the EV platform underlying the Avenger is first rate, as it seems to be, then one of the initial challenges for Stellantis has already been surmounted as success in that emerging field must be essential if the consortium is going to remain viable in the future. But this result also raises questions about some conventional wisdom, which goes something like this: small companies with limited production and market reach are doomed given economic realities. Historically, this has proven pretty much to be the case, so why should things change now?
The standard of the Jeep Avenger EV, quickly adapted from its Peugeot, DS, and Vauxhall stablemates, demonstrates what may be an emerging reality: Stellantis, with relatively minor investment, may be able to produce a variety of vehicles from its range with only minor changes. How is this new, you might ask, as badge engineering has been going on since at least the 1960’s. The difference is that an EV platform, once engineered and in production, can easily be clothed in any number of body styles tailored to fit any number of markets and consumers. Take, for example, the runner up in the Car of the Year sweepstakes this year, the VW ID Buzz, which resurrects one of those cult memories from ages past–the VW Bus. The Microbus of story and legend was, in reality, a pretty crappy vehicle by any standard, but it created an image in the minds of many that lives on, for whatever reason. The new EV VW will no doubt be a much better vehicle than its distant ancestor, but then all new vehicles, EV or IC, are vast improvements on their predecessors. The important thing is that designers are free to borrow from whatever memories of the past that resonate in consumers and quickly supply something to meet their desires, nostalgic or impractical as the case may be.
Given that ability, how necessary would it be to set up vast new worldwide sales and service networks from scratch for something like Lancia, Citroën, or Maserati? Simply put up a few new signs, ship the cars to to existing Stellantis dealers, and let the buyer decide what’s viable and what isn’t. Most of the vehicles will be essentially the same save for the body panels, so investment is minor. On the other hand, if a new Lancia Fulvia, designed to evoke memories of the original, proves to be a runaway success, then stamp out the panels on a 3-D printer and meet the demand. A new Citroën DS? No worries, it’ll be in the showroom by spring, although maybe as a DS-DS? (DS is the relative recent Citroën offshoot). An Alfa Romeo Disco Volante? No sooner said than done.
The purist will scoff and insist that these new creations will bear only a passing resemblance to their inspirations, that they have no pedigree and lineage, and they are EV’s to boot, but those complaints will likely be drowned out in the rush to see the latest new thing. And after all, Stellantis will have trademark rights to all those new Maseratis, Lancias, and Citroëns, so what’s all this business about lineage and continuity? What do they even mean? If someone can introduce a new Vanwall from scratch when Vanwall never dreamed of building a production road car in its long-ago history, then who can second guess Stellantis if it decides to introduce a special edition Talbot? Those with naming rights hold the key to their marque’s future, not the old Motorsport archives.
As Tavares notes in his 2003 CES address https://www.stellantis.com/content/dam/stellantis-corporate/investors/events/stellantis-at-ces-2023/Stellantis-CES-2023-Keynote-Address.pdf, the critical piece of the companies plan is software, not hardware: that is where the 21st century automaker will stand or fall, and he insists that Stellantis is in the vanguard of this brave, new world. If we retain any lingering 20th Century conceptions of the auto industry, this speech will quickly disabuse us. So, keep an eye on M. Tavares . . . we are watching a radical shift in the order of things. As we continue to watch the shift from an analogue to a digital world, how it will all fall out is not easy to predict at this point, but seeing it unfold is bound to keep our attention. So keep an eye on those European Cars of the Year: they could very well point the way forward.
Hahaha, I love it. The neck-beard, punisher-decal, boot lickin’ Wrangler bro’s heads will explode when they learn the Jeep is the EUROPEAN CAR of the year. Makes my day.
But who will tell them? \s
FWIW, this Jeep isn’t coming to North America (at least not now). It’s even smaller than the Renegade.
Smaller, but better looking. I neglected to mention that it isn’t coming to the U.S. We get the Grand Wagoneer, instead . . .
Il faudrait commencer par re-proposer des voitures en amérique .Pas des suv . Mis à part les asiatiques , qui en proposent ?
Les Européens. . . sérieusement, seules quelques berlines sont proposées par les constructeurs américains, et celles fabriquées par Chrysler sont sur des plateformes vieilles de vingt ans. Tesla est l’un des rares succès. Les SUV dominent et je ne vois pas cela changer bientôt.
Interesting interview with Tavares:
I think his comments about the conflict between pragmatism and idealism are particularly interesting in view of the more universal affect that is having on energy production in general, and reflected further in his comment that the auto industry must look at it as being about clean energy (fuel cells, hydrogen &c) and not just auto electrification per se. Tavares seems to be both an effective and visionary leader. It will be interesting to see how his philosophy plays out through Stellantis (a dumb PR generated name if there ever was one) in the next few years. And, yes, please bring back the Citoren DS!
not Citoran, Citroen.. Cee Troi An!
Tavares does seem a cut above the usual CEO, automotive or otherwise. It’s like he’s something on the order of his predecessor at Fiat/Chrysler, Sergio Marchionne, although he comes across as more of a technocrat than a crazy uncle. (I’m not dissing Marchionne, but sometimes his frank sweater talk could be annoying). He does seem to have a clear view of the current situation, which seems to bode well for Stellantis finding a path through the EV era.
A few thoughts here: The Jeep Avenger is also going to be built in a mild-hybrid IC version, which means that it and its stablemates are not exactly true “EV platforms” but a compromise platform that allows both versions to be built on the same line.
This is actually a very real compromise and an inevitable dead end, as all the manufacturers have come to accept that it will be impossible to gain the full benefits of an EV without it being a dedicated EV-only platform. Toyota has just come to acknowledge that, and announced that its new EV, the bz4x which is also designed to be built alongside IC Toyotas, will never achieve maximum production efficiencies and as such has already been declared a dead end, to be replaced by a new generation of EVs.
The European market is highly fragmented, with some 9 mass-market brands, none of which sell in any kind of true large volumes. This results in low margins, high prices, and makes the market susceptible to imports from China as well as to Tesla, which of course builds only dedicated EVs, with tremendous efficiencies.
Tavares is an exceptional CEO, and has done a terrific job with managing to squeeze out efficiencies with multiple brands sharing platforms. Of course it’s no different than what VW has been doing for many years, sharing platforms across many brands: VW, Audi, Skoda, SEAT, Cupra. In the modern age, it’s really not that expensive to design and engineer various bodies to share a “platform”, and in the case of the Avenger and its stablemates, it’s obvious that they all share body hardpoints, meaning only the skin and other non-structural elements are different.
Frankly, the competition this year for European Car of the Year was pretty modest. The Avenger is a competent car, but certainly nothing outstanding, and just a variation of an existing batch of other Stellantis cars.
Toyota is certainly an interesting case, particularly now with the surprising news that Akio Toyoda has stepped down as CEO, a move that seems to be tied with the company’s response to the EV challenge. Apparently the investors have spoken–they may want a different, less hesitant approach?
VW/Audi would seem to point the way forward for Stellantis, and you have to think that Marchionne would have approved of the move as it’s something he predicted would have to happen. It seems certain we’ll see more mergers in the future as no company seems likely to negotiate the future alone. Makes you wonder what will happen to Honda and Mazda, although certainly they’ve already made some moves, Honda with ties to GM and their EV platform, Mazda with Toyota: it’ll be interesting to see how that develops with a new CEO and possible change of direction at Toyota.
I have to agree that the list of European COTY winners seems largely lackluster, something like Motor Trend’s, if truth be told, but given the pool of judges, maybe we should expect more insightful selections? Makes motoring journalists seems a little suspect!
BTW, somehow I completely missed the Cupra story and when I saw a few this fall I had no idea what they were or where they came from. Does seem odd that VW would further balkanize their product line when they already have so many brands, but they no doubt see something that escapes me.
“For those of us residing on the left side of the Atlantic the annual to-do of selecting a European Car of the Year tends to fly over our heads,”
It’s much the same on the right side of the Atlantic – they have a habit of choosing duds, and nothing on the short list this year was worth getting excited about.
It seems something like the Oscars . . .
I spent three weeks in France last summer and, it being my first trip outside North America, I had no real idea what I’d see on the roads there.
I wound up with a Renault Captur small SUV (based on the old Rogue platform) for a rental (Toyotas and Hyundais were also in that “or similar” group).
There were the odd American vehicles (four current-gen Mustangs, including a BULLITT, one ’66 Mustang, and six RAM 1500’s—all current-gen, spread throughout the country) and the show-off cars on the Riviera (not that different from what you find in Malibu—Ferrari, Bentley, McLaren).
By and large, though, it’s all about the small crossover SUV there—and a lot of them had Jeep badges.
I was in Austria, Italy, and Germany this fall. I hadn’t been over for five years and it was revealing to see that the switch to SUV’s isn’t limited to the USA. We were in the Alps and Dolomites, though, so it seems logical that SUV’s would predominate there. All the same, the mix wasn’t much different up near the coast in northern Germany.
The difference is that I didn’t see a single American car that I recall, and only a few exotica like Ferraris et.al, but you wouldn’t want one up there in the mountains when the snow flies!
Very nice write up of your trip to Paris.
As for the winner of this “European Automobile Marketing Award”: a Peugeot/Fiat is now a Jeep.
The nightmare has come true. Less here than on your side of the pond.
If I had predicted this two decades ago, everyone would have laughed at me.
And comming soon in a theatre near you: The Mummy, Part 13.
The resurrection of Lancia based on Jeep/Peugeot/Opel – I won’t list any more, from here on it doesn’t matter.
We will be surrounded by zombies.
I’ve already stocked up on spirits for what’s to come.
I’m waiting for the day that everything we see in the US that’s badged Chrysler will, in reality, be a Peugeot. I’ve always felt that, assuming Stellantis see’s the desirability of keeping the Chrysler brand going, and actually wants to sell Peugeots in America, it would be the most logical way to go about it.
That definitely seems to be within the realms of possibility. And it could be worse. Peugeot, Citroën, and the rest seem to do some good design and engineering work. Chrysler and Dodge are so starved for new product that it seems like the only way they will survive is by borrowing platforms. Too bad they can’t borrow the new I-6 RWD Mazda platform . . .
Given the extent and expanse of the Stellantis merger, I suspect their marques and models will ultimately become more a matter of cosmetic appearance and regional marketing factors, rather than anything to do where any given model “originated”.
I.e., rather than any given, say, Dodge model being “really just” a rebadged Peugeot or vice-versa, or seeing any Peugeots or other Euro-brand models imported as-is to the States at all (whether rebadged or not), more likely there will only be generic Stellantis platforms developed across various of their combined worldwide engineering departments wherever the talent in each domain may reside (large engines here, small engines there, chassis yonder, etc.). These platforms would then be dressed up with differing interior and exterior styling and amenities suitable to their marque, which in turn will be chosen to suit each market in which the model is sold, under the brand(s) most familiar and well-regarded in that market.
What’s essentially the same vehicle under the skin may be styled and sold in the US as a Dodge or Chrysler, in France as a Peugeot or Citroen or DS, in Italy as a Fiat or Alfa or Lancia, in Germany as an Opel, in the UK as a Vauxhall. Some of these may have roles to play outside their “home country” if such expanded brand diversity would significantly expand the pool of likely buyers in the target market. However, the underlying common aspects of that vehicle could not truly be said to “really be” any single one of those marques in any meaningful sense, and their buyer-evident differentiation will be more significant than mere rebadging of otherwise identical sheetmetal.
RAM and Jeep are probably their only marques that would be fully viable for sales worldwide, yet even these may have sibling variants sold under any of the other marques, and may have some models sold in some market(s) and not others.
This seems to be the imminent reality, more than imminent if you look at VW’s example, and they’ve managed it with IC platforms. EV’s seem even more friendly to that process and economic factors will only expedite it. I suspect we’ll adapt to the fact that the platform is held in common so long as the engineering is up to a certain standard, and it will have to be to survive in the marketplace. The days of something emerging from left field, like a Citroën DS or CX are no doubt a thing of the past, anyway. Those days have been over for a long time. It seems unlikely a Stellantis vehicle will turn up with hydopneumatic suspension anytime soon.
If some national characteristics that we identify with brands like Peugeot, Fiat, Lancia, Alfa, Citroën. or even Opel and Chrysler remain, that would be nice, and it seems reasonable to think that computers can deliver some of those things. We shall see.
I agree that Jeep, and RAM, really may really turn out to be the Crown Jewels of Stellantis given the current market, and who would have imagined that twenty years ago?
Thanks, Fred! I suppose we might be grateful that the Jeep brand didn’t end up with the Chinese, but we’ve seen it in the hands of so many companies over the years that it’s hard to keep track. There’s definitely some cognitive dissonance, though. My first car/truck/wheeled-vehicle was a late 40’s Willy’s Jeep. I’m sure the notion that someday my Willy’s and Citroën might be part of the same company would have been something I wouldn’t have though within the realms of possibility.
CC effect going ok but clouded by badging, My Citroen diesel is away at a mates place and Im driving the Citroen version of a 307/308, a C4 turbo diesel but a 2.0 automatic that my mate currently owns he did have a C4 1600 diesel manual previously which Ive also driven very very economical and quite peppy and great handling, the 2.0 is in another league its quick off the line and accelerates well from any speed, plus there is a sport button which just makes it angry and produces wheelspin at any speed on wet roads so best used in the dry but not really required at all. Great size for city driving too where my C5 can be a bit too big to park easily, I like it and may actually buy one either in Peugeot or Citroen, I can see why they were COTY when first released.
I guess I didn’t miss much by not having the 2.0 liter with sport mode back in the day! Now that diesels are resigned to the dust bin of history it’s interesting to look back at the limited time I had with that Peugeot example. If I hadn’t seen the badge I might never have known as the only time I noticed diesel clatter was when I was outside the car when it was running. You never heard it in the cabin and the car seemed to rev easily, although not too high, of course. I recognized why diesels were so popular, as the mileage was certainly good and there seemed to be relatively few compromises.
Car of the year is never taken seriously and I doubt generates one sale. Previous winners include the Vauxhall Carlton and Citroen Picasso. The Jaguar iPace won and basically died.
Well, at least the CitroënGS, CX and XM won the prize . . . that’s better than what we got in the USA with Chevy Monte Carlo and Vega.
The last time I was in Europe was actually Turkey (both sides of the Bosporus) in 2015. It was the first place I saw a Jeep Renegade, even though I live in a US town that includes a Dodge/Jeep/Ram dealership among the few dealerships we have. And our son is currently in Europe for work, and sent me a picture of the Weltmuseum in Vienna, with cars parked in front. I wasn’t really paying attention to the cars, but noticed what looked like a Renegade and zoomed in to see it was parked next to a Wrangler. So then I looked at the other cars; mostly uninteresting to me generic small to mid-sized CUV’s plus a few wagons, and a Lexus RX. Jeep has a brand identity in Europe that I think only Tesla, and perhaps the Mustang have for US cars. They really seem to have used that equity effectively. And now we have a Jeep-badged Peugeot to go along with the Fiat Renegade. Impressive.
I think I may have underestimated the Jeep brand recognition in Europe. Now if Stellantis can deliver vehicles to build on that they will be in great shape. One thing you have to wonder about is why Mercedes didn’t value Jeep a bit more, or recognize the brand’s attraction. But of course the SUV boom didn’t begin on their watch either.
It will be interesting to see how the Dodge Hornet will fare. Certainly it will sell in greater volume than the Alfa Tonale, right? But would it have been better to put a Jeep badge on it? Still, Dodge needs product if it’s going to stick around . . .
Have a look here, for example the 2022/2021 EU numbers of new passenger car registrations stated on page 3:
Stellantis not looking so good compared to the Germans (VW, Mercedes, BMW).
What got my attention here was not only the paucity of interesting vehicles, but the fact that there wasn’t much new about the winning Jeep. It seems to be just a new body on existing Stellantis mechanicals; that’s not really a new car to my mind. A new Jeep, yes; a new car, not really. To me that says more about the apparent mediocrity of the competition than it does about the excellence of the Jeep.
Also from what I’ve read elsewhere it’s not available to the public yet, which means the judges must have based their vote on prototypes and promises. Hmm, what could possibly go wrong?
Compared to last years winner, the Kia EV6, the field does seem a little bland. Hard to judge, not having seen or driven any of the competition. Curbside Classic needs representation and a member on the jury! Surely a European member is available . . .