Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the eight largest automaker in the world and the owner of the Jeep brand, is keen to replicate the success of the Compass in India with a compact SUV and a three-row mid-size SUV launch in 2022.
The maker of Jeep range of SUVs will roll out a sub-4 meter compact sports utility vehicle that will be the smallest in its line-up (smaller than the Jeep Renegade) and is presently under development.
Coming from the Jeep brand the SUV is expected to be priced at premium compared to the current offerings such as Tata Nexon, Maruti Suzuki Brezza and Mahindra TUV300.
Also on course to hit the market around the same time is a 3-row premium mid-size SUV that will be positioned above the Compass and even above the Wrangler. Jeep sells four models in India – Compass, Wrangler, Grand Cherokee and Grand Cherokee SRT – priced in the range Rs 15.26 lakh to Rs 1.07 crore.
The much expected Renegade, that is as big as the Hyundai Creata, may not come to India after all given the slew of regulatory changes that India is is set to adopt over the next two years in areas of safety and emission.
Launched in July last year, Jeep Compass has been Fiat's most successful product with average monthly sales of around 2000 units. With more than 25,600 units of the Compass on the road since the past one year, it is the most successful model for Fiat in the past several years in India.
Priced between Rs 15.26-21.88 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai), the Compass is considered to be a premium SUV competing against segment leader Mahindra XUV500, Tata Hexa and the more expensive Hyundai Tucson.
To keep up with the pace of new model additions FCA will increase plant capacity at Ranjagaon, near Pune by nearly one and half times, said FCA. Its current capacity is 160,000 units per annum. FCA wants to transform India plant into an export hub.
FCA, which currently has a strength of 66 dealerships across, aims to double the count in the coming years while also expanding the number of service centers.
India is following the world-wide trend surging SUV demand. One in every four passenger vehicles sold in India is a utility vehicle. As per an IHS Global Insight expectation India’s UV demand is expected rise to 1.6 million by 2022 from 0.8 million last year.
Globally the Italian brand Fiat is banking on Jeep, Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands with very little focus on the Fiat brand itself. Fiat in India sells five models – Urban Cross, Abarth Punto, Punto Evo, Avventura and Linea – in the hatchback and sedan segment. But its sales are minuscule compared to rivals such as Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai.
Last year, Fiat clocked volumes of 1860 units, a drop of 67 percent compared to 2016-17 even as the passenger vehicle industry sales grew by 8 percent to 3.2 million units.