After Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and PSA Group officially announced their merger on January 2021. They announced a new brand – Stellantis that is now the fourth largest automobile group in the world with 14 car brands under its umbrella. Now talking about the Indian market, the Stellantis already has three brands in India – Jeep that is already operating and Citroen, which will launch in March 2021 in the Indian market. Fiat discontinued all its cars in India in 2019 and is likely to bring any new models to the market. With the merger, Stellantis is likely to play around with the Jeep and soon-to-be-launched Citroen brand in the Indian market.
Last year, before the official launch, FCA had stopped development of B-Segment vehicles at a global level. As per Autocar, Jeep will utilise Citroen’s expertise to develop the long-awaited compact SUV for the Indian market. It should be noted that Jeep is evaluating the same since they entered the Indian market a few years ago.
The Jeep Compass is the only car that brings in volume for the brand. All the other models sold by the American manufacturer are CBU and come with a massive price tag. Even the Jeep Compass that was updated recently remains a premium product with a starting price of Rs 17 lakh. The models selling in this segment remain low-volume nonetheless.
Citroen’s first model – the C5 Aircross will set the tone for the brand in India. The second product will be an affordable mass-segment car that is currently under development. With the codename C21, it will utilise the PSA’s Common Modular Platform or CMP. The same platform underpins a wide range of vehicles in the range.
Citroen is currently testing the car in India and the vehicle was spotted testing with the Baleno, Altroz and even the Vitara Brezza. The French manufacturer is planning to start production of the car with over 90% localisation that will ensure a competitive price.
Now Jeep is likely to use the same CMP in the future. Partha Datta, MD, Jeep India confirmed the same to Autocar and said that with the merger, Jeep’s entry-level SUV is back and the plan to launch a sub-4m compact SUV in India seems like an idea that can soon become a reality. The merger will definitely help Jeep in India but there are problems.
The CMP does not support 4X4 driveline. The 4X4 is the core of Jeep and every single model offer 4X4 at least as an optional feature. However, that can change the brand in the coming time. Jeep may also use the 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol that will power the Citroen C21. There will no diesel engine option for now.
What happened to the Jeep Renegade?
To overcome the problem, Jeep planned to enter the more affordable price brackets in India by launching an India-spec version of the Renegade SUV. However, since the Renegade is longer than 4-meters, a major re-development was needed. Also, to put a competitive price tag on the car, heavy localisation was also needed. Also, the plan was to downsize the 1.6-litre Multijet to below 1.5-litre to take advantage of the sub-4m rule in India. However, even other manufacturers like Maruti Suzuki ditched the 1.6-litre diesel engine in the S-Cross. Now tweaking the engine and the car itself requires major engineering inputs, which translates into heavy investment too. However, since the volume even from this segment is not expected to meet the targets to make the vehicle viable. That is why Jeep Renegade’s Indian version never saw the daylight in all these years.