The debut of the iconic American brand, Jeep in India is unarguably, one of the most anticipated ones. The Jeep brand that is part of the Chrysler Group is slated to be introduced by the Italian automaker Fiat, who owns the brand since the last couple of years. The first official announcement that was made by Fiat India. in this regard was back in 2012 with a possible debut to get underway in early 2013. However, due to unfavourable market conditions and the overall gloom in the auto industry, Fiat decided to push forward Jeep’s debut to early 2014. Much to our disappointment though, is it now reported that Fiat India has further delayed the launch of the iconic SUV brand to 2015.
At the start of the year, it was reported that Jeep’s introduction was a part of Fiat’s strategy for India in 2014. However, Fiat having burnt its hands before in the country are taking things with a slow and careful approach. The automaker reckons that the market conditions in the country are still unfavourable and have therefore, postponed Jeep brand’s debut to 2015. The said news was confirmed by Mr Mike Manley, chief operating officer of Fiat Chrysler, Asia Pacific region at the Fiat’s annual investor meeting. Mr Manley who is also the president and chief executive officer of Jeep, gave a glimpse of Fiat’s plans for India for the next five years at the said meeting. Jeep’s brand new product, the Renegade that was first shown at the 2014 New York Motor Show and that was expected to land on Indian shores in 2016 has also been now pushed forward to 2017.
The product launch plans under the Jeep brand however, remains unchanged. We will still get to see the Jeep Wrangler and the Grand Cherokee on the streets of India as the first two products to land on the Indian shores. The Jeep Wrangler SUV will be brought into the country as a completely-built-unit (CBU) and will be more or an image builder for the Jeep brand, whereas the Grand Cherokee is aiming to be volume product in India and will be therefore, locally assembled at Fiat’s production facility in Ranjangaon, which will help keep its cost low and competitive. The Jeep Renegade on the other hand, is an entry-level product that is built on Jeep’s new Small Wide platform that also underpins the Fiat 500X. The baby-SUV will rival the likes of Audi Q1 and BMW X1 in the Indian market.