Jeep India has been on a roll in the Indian market ever since the launch of the Compass SUV. The Indian market showed strong disapproval over the extremely high prices of the Completely Built Units (CBU) of Wrangler and Grand Cherokee. However, this changed when the locally manufactured Compass was launched at a reasonable price, making it a big hit. Jeep realized the price sensitivity of the market and Mike Manley, CEO of the brand, has announced a brand new SUV for the Indian market
What is it about?
The iconic American brand only makes SUVs and with the rising popularity of the Sports Utility Vehicles in India, Jeep has decided to work on an all-new SUV. The all-new SUV will sit below the Compass in the line-up and will become the new entry-level SUV for the brand in the Indian market. The plan was revealed during Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s (FCA) five-year strategy announcement.
The all-new SUV will be based on the Fiat Panda’s platform that also underpins the Fiat 500. The Panda is a popular car in many international markets and Fiat is already working on an all-new, next-generation platform for the crossover with a 4X4 option. Even though it is not known if Jeep will offer 4X4 in the entry-level SUV at the moment, the platform will have the facility to accommodate a 4WD if the brand decides to offer it.
The vehicle is still in the development stage and is expected to be ready by 2020. Jeep has not officially confirmed the launch timeframe of the SUV, but it is safe to assume that the car will be ready for the Indian market by 2020. The Indian market is about see a stricter implementation of emission norms and will enforce the BS VI standards. This will give the FCA enough time to tinker around the engines to make them compliant with the upcoming norms.
The engine details of the upcoming SUV are not known. However, to keep the tax benefits in India, Jeep is expected to power the SUV with a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine and the tried and tested 1.3-litre diesel engine, which is also known as the national diesel engine of India.
Why not the Renegade?
There was speculation surrounding the Jeep Renegade, but the entry-level vehicle from Jeep in many international markets does not fit the Indian tax rules. The Renegade is longer than 4-metres, which will put it at a high price bracket and it will turn out to be a flop show. The Indian market has shown an extremely good response to the Compass and an all-new SUV to take on the highly competitive segment of sub-4-meter SUVs seems like a fair deal. The upcoming vehicle will compete with the likes of Maruti Vitara Brezza, Tata Nexon and Ford EcoSport in the market. However, given the brand value of Jeep, it might get an advantage even after entering the segment late.