Jeep, Ram offer (RED) special editions to support pandemic relief

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

Jeep and Ram will offer special edition (RED) vehicles to help fund more than $4 million for pandemic relief efforts over the next three years, Stellantis NV said Wednesday.

(RED) is a project from U2 frontman Bono and activist Bobby Shriver with The ONE Campaign, a nonprofit seeking to end extreme poverty and preventable disease by 2030.

Started in 2006, (RED) began with the mission to end acquired immunodeficiency syndrome by partnering with companies to sell (RED) branded products whose contributions go to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. It also funds COVID-19 relief efforts. The Stellantis brands are its first automaker partner.

The Ram 1500 (RED) edition features unique design cues.

"This partnership with FIAT, Jeep and RAM is a powerful shot in the arm for (RED)’s fight against pandemics and the complacency that fuels them," Bono said in a statement. "Less than 5 percent of people in Africa are fully vaccinated, while vaccines are plentiful in Europe and America. We have to do more and fast to support the hundreds of millions of people who don’t yet have access to the vaccines, therapeutics or sufficient PPE."

The Ram (RED) edition is based on a Ram 1500 Limited Night edition and will launch in late 2021 with brand design cues, including (RED) badging on the exterior and interior.

For Jeep, the (RED) edition of the Compass will launch in the U.S. and Canada in the first quarter of next year and a version of the Renegade will follow soon after. They'll come to Europe in the second half of 2022. A (RED) edition of the Fiat New 500 electric car also was revealed on Wednesday for Europe during an event in Turin, Italy.

Olivier Francois, global chief marketing officer of Stellantis, declined during a virtual media briefing to specify how much money from each of the vehicles will go to the Global Fund. There, however, will be no limit on the number of vehicles sold.

"Peace is so important for companies like ours, because without peace there is no prosperity and without prosperity, there is no business," said Francois, noting he has known Bono for years. "Defending peace is almost self-serving. Same with the pandemic."

Ram will show its pickup during the State Fair of Texas starting Thursday. Additional details will be shared soon. To promote the effort, the brands are promoting the campaign on their social platforms.

Olivier didn't rule out the possibility of the collaboration extending to other brands or vehicles in the future.

The (RED) project has provided nearly $700 million for the Global Fund, helping more than 220 million people. Last week, Apple Inc. announced a (RED)-branded iPhone 13.

"At the end of the day, we're not only creating a brand but creating pressure to ensure governments are doing the right thing," Jen Lotito, (RED)'s chief operating officer, said during the news briefing. "When we look at COVID, we really need the governments to step up with their checkbooks, and it's really the companies that step up with their creativity and marketing and their customers that bring this all to life."

Twitter: @BreanaCNoble