Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) India has confirmed that Jeep India is developing a new SUV that will be heavily localised. This will let it position the new model in the Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh bracket, which it expects, would help it gain market share in the country.The C-segment Jeep, codenamed 556, will be bench marked on the likes of BMW X1. The company plans to launch this model by August next year and also export to various markets around the world. This model will get 4WD as an option.
The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, Grand Cherokee and the Grand Cherokee SRT were launched yesterday in India, with prices starting from Rs 71.59 lakh (ex-Delhi). These SUVs are being imported into the country via the CBU route, which explains the steep pricing. The plan, however, is to launch the premium Jeep products in the market, to build an image, and then roll out the locally developed Jeeps to drive volumes.
It is known that it is also working on a B-segment model, codenamed 526 and will be a sub-four metre SUV. It is expected to sport a starting price of Rs 10 lakh. At that price it will take on the likes of the Ford Ecosport and the popular Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza. Expect Jeep India to price it at a slightly higher price point than these compact SUVs, and with a few more features. We also expect the B-segment SUV to not get 4WD to keep costs in check.
At the launch event, FCA has announced that it has invested $280 million in its Ranjangaon facility, which highlights its commitment to the Indian market, it said. Kevin Flynn, MD, FCA India also hinted at the possibility of exporting Jeeps from this facility.
For now, the company is tight lipped about the extent of localisation in these Jeeps, but says that it will surprise the competition and its customers.
India's love for SUVs is undiminished and the recent SC order that lifted the diesel ban has given more momentum to the segment. The locally built Jeep models should help the company gain a foothold in the market.
The company plans to open 10 dealerships across nine cities in India by the end of this year. The Ahmadabad dealership is nowoperational.
The new Jeep showroom in Mumbai will also display few Fiat products. Going ahead, this will be the plan with Jeep and Fiat products co-existing under one showroom.
Source: ET Auto