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Fiat Chrysler plans new sub-4-metre Jeep for India

Murali Gopalan Mumbai | Updated on June 01, 2018

Speeding ahead: The plans to grow the Jeep brand in India will lead to capacity increasing by 50 per cent to 2.4 lakh units annually at the Ranjangaon facility near Pune   -  BusinessLine

To also launch a 3-row mid-size SUV


Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) will launch a sub 4-metre SUV in India as an entry-level Jeep brand. In addition, a 3-row midsize SUV is also on the cards under the Jeep umbrella.

These announcements are part of a detailed FCA five-year presentation which kicked off on Friday near Turin, Italy. The plans for growing the Jeep brand in India will lead to capacity at the Ranjangaon facility near Pune increasing by 50 per cent to 2.4 lakh units annually from 1.6 lakh units.

Clearly, FCA sees tremendous growth potential for the new sub 4-metre Jeep which will perhaps be introduced over the next three years. At present, Ranjangaon is home to the Jeep Compass which is sold in India and also shipped out to a host of right-hand drive (RHD) markets.

Since its launch last year, the Compass has reported sales of 31,000 units in 10 months. Of this tally, exports account for 8,000 units to RHD markets in Australia, the UK, Japan, Ireland, Singapore, Indonesia, Cyprus, Malta and Brunei.

India is one of the four manufacturing locations for the Compass with the others being China, Mexico and Brazil. It is quite likely that the competencies here could be leveraged to include overseas shipments to left-hand drive markets too in the near future if the need arises.

Tax benefits

Likewise, the new sub 4-metre Jeep has obviously been targeted for India where this length stipulation confers tax benefits on a par with small cars. While the domestic market will clearly be top priority, FCA may even look at exports to the ASEAN region and Europe which would be open to the idea of smaller SUVs.

Incidentally, the 3-row midsize Jeep SUV has also been earmarked for Latin America which means that there could be some manufacturing synergies with India. The message coming through loud and clear now is that Jeep will lead the way for FCA in India which pretty much also means that Fiat as a brand is of little relevance.

This is also keeping in line with market realities given that Jeep is the fastest growing brand for the company across the world. Its numbers have almost doubled from one million units in 2014 to 1.9 million units this calendar. Given this pace of growth, it would not be surprising if Jeep sales cross three million units by 2022, the last lap of FCA’s five-year presentation.

Growth potential

India has also been seeing a massive surge in SUV sales and the heady market response to the Compass, which was developed precisely for the needs of emerging markets, means that the Jeep brand can only grow from here. This also puts in context the huge growth potential of the sub four-metre SUV and how Ranjangaon’s global role will be enhanced in the coming years.

With more investments due to be pumped in, India will now be among the top priority markets for FCA and the Jeep brand. Yet, the fact that China has been the focus for electrification in Friday’s presentation only shows how the country is moving aggressively in the e-mobility space. India has a lot of catching up to do here even while it has announced some grandiose plans in the recent past.

Published on June 01, 2018

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