American SUV brand Jeep, which is owned by the Fiat-Chrysler group, will make its Indian debut next year with the likes of the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee brand builder SUV models. While Jeep will take a top-down approach in the Indian market, the real push from the Jeep brand will come in 2016, with Fiat instrumental in helping the American brand spread out in India. Jeep will operate out of independent dealerships and service centers in India, thereby serving to clearly demarcate itself from Fiat. However, the American SUV brand will share manufacturing facility and sourcing synergies with its Italian owner.
Jeep is expected to use a new manufacturing line at Fiat India’s Ranjangaon factory, off Pune, from where a C-Segment SUV will roll out in 2016. Internationally C-Segment SUVs refer to the likes of the Toyota Fortuner and the Hyundai Santa Fe. For Jeep, the C-Segment SUV will be the Patriot/Compass’ replacement, which will sit above the Renegade in terms of price and positioning. Expect petrol and turbo diesel engine options, and manual and automatic gearboxes on the 2016 C-Segment SUV. Jeep’s off roading pedigree is expected to shine in the C-Segment SUV as well, with a full fledged four wheel drive system.
Although the C-Segment SUV from Jeep will operate in the Fortuner segment in India, it is likely to be remain a five seater, on the lines of the outgoing Compass and Patriot. The C-Segment SUV’s pricing is likely to rival the Fortuners and Pajero Sports of this world as Jeep would seek to leverage its iconic brand value in India. Jeep’s plans for India include that of leveraging the country’s low cost-high quality manufacturing advantage for exports. Apart from being sold in India, the 2016 C-Segment SUV will be exported to right-hand drive countries around the world including the United Kingdom, South Africa and Australia. M6 or 556 is said to be the code-name for Jeep’s C-Segment SUV project.