Italian automaker Fiat will set up 15 Jeep dealerships across the country in 2015, even as the iconic SUV brand from the United States begins operations in India. Jeep will start off with two SUVs brought in through the completely built (CBU) route in the form of the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee models.
Both the SUVs will be sold with turbo diesel power as standard fare while petrol motors may also be served up as an option. The Grand Cherokee is Jeep’s flagship SUV worldwide, and the vehicle will be accorded the same status in India. The two SUVs will serve as brand builders for India.
Volumes will not be on Jeep’s mind for 2015, when the brand will seek to occupy mindspace among SUV buyers in the country. The real deal from Jeep will arrive in 2016, in the form of a Compass/Patriot SUV replacement, which will be built in India with extensive localization at Fiat’s Ranjangaon factory.
The five seat luxury SUV is expected to be priced in the vicinity of the Toyota Fortuner and the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport. The Compass/Patriot replacement is likely to pack in both petrol and diesel engine options, and both manual and automatic transmissions. Expect front wheel drive and rear wheel drive layouts to be on offer.
The latest buzz surrounding the Jeep brand also suggests that the Renegade Compact SUV has been earmarked for India, for a 2017 launch. The Renegade will be the American brand’s real volumes puller as it is likely to sit in the sub-15 lakh rupee segment. Heavy localization will be key to the Renegade’s success in the cost sensitive Indian market.
The Renegade is based on the Fiat US Small Wide platform that it shares with the 500X crossover. The Renegade also uses turbocharged petrol and diesel motors picked up from Fiat’s global engine line up. The SUV gets an all wheel drive layout with many features tuned to offer good performance off the road.