Come 2015, American SUV brand Jeep will bow into India, after a delay of nearly two years. The Jeep Wrangler and Grand Cherokee SUVs will lead Jeep’s Indian entry as brand builders, imported through the completely built unit (CBU) route. Both SUVs are likely to be sold with turbo diesel engines. While the Wrangler will command a sub-30 lakh price tag, the Grand Cherokee’s price tag will be grander, at well over 50 big ones.
Jeep boss Mike Manley has made no bones about the fact that sales success in India will only come with local assembly. For the record, India is said to become the third largest car market in the world in 2020, after China and the United States. Obviously, Jeep will want a slice of the growing pie that is India’s car market. While plans of local assembly and manufacturing weren’t elaborated by Mr. Manley, Jeep India’s thinking clearly revolves around local assembly/manufacturing in future.
The first of such locally assembled/manufactured SUVs from Jeep is likely to come in 2016, with the C-Segment model that Jeep is yet to unveil. The C-Segment SUV from Jeep is expected to serve as a Patriot/Compass replacement. In India, the Jeep C-Segment SUV is expected to sit in the sub-20 lakh rupee price bracket, as an upmarket alternative to the Mahindra XUV500s and the Tata Safari Stormes of this world.
In the past, Jeep has revealed plans of making India its export hub. These plans are expected to play out with the C-Segment SUV’s launch in India. Though the Jeep Renegade (B-Segment) SUV, which shares its platform and parts with the upcoming Fiat 500X crossover (both SUVs will be based on the US Small Wide platform), will go on sale globally from early next year, the Renegade’s India launch remains uncertain, contrary to previous plans.
While there is talk of a positive response to the Renegade SUV in India at customer clinics conducted by Jeep, a final decision about the SUV’s launch here is yet to be taken. Jeep is also considering a compact SUV smaller than the Renegade. The sub-Renegade SUV is still on the drawing board though. For now, the only things certain about the Jeep brand as far as India is concerned are the launch of the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee SUVs next year, followed by the C-Segment SUV in 2016.