Jeep, the American automaker, officially announced its arrival in India with the launch of two models: Wrangler Rs. 71.59 Lakhs and Grand Cherokee Rs. 93 Lakhs-1.14 Crore (Ex-showroom New Delhi). Now, the company has started working on a couple of localized models, which would be placed in a bracket of Rs. 8-20 Lakhs. The C-segment Jeep model, which would enter production in 2017, has been codenamed as 556 and would rival Mahindra XUV500. On the other hand, the B-segment SUV, internally codenamed as 526, could be a sub 4-meter SUV and would rival Maruti Vitara Brezza and Ford EcoSport.
When queried Kevin Flynn, MD of Fiat Chrysler India declined to comment on specific price points of localized Jeep, but said, "The locally made Jeep will be attainable for a significant part of the market." The C-segment Jeep is expected to be unveiled in August 2017, while being exported to a lot of right hand drive markets. On the potential of exporting vehicles from India, Flynn added, "We are optimistic and believe that India still wants to leverage its strengths and stands behind it's "Make in India" program and being a much sought after manufacturing location." The company has already made an investment of $280 million in the new factory to develop the premium Jeep models. The vehicles will be sold through 10 Jeep outlets across the country by the end of 2016.
It is being learnt that Jeep has flown in two vehicle line directors from Italy and the C-segment SUV project is taking concrete shape. A few hundred units would be even ready by the end of this year, while Fiat starts testing before they enter production at manufacturing line in Ranjangaon on the outskirts of Pune from the second half of 2017. The company has benchmarked BMW X1 for the C SUV, and it would be priced around Rs. 15-20 Lakhs. As for the B-segment SUV, it would be a sub Rs. 10 Lakhs SUV. "The smaller B Jeep is a mini-Renegade SUV and it is created largely for markets like India. The company is planning on annual volumes of about 40,000 to 50,000 units per annum, with some portfolio going to exports market," said the person involved with the company requesting anonymity.
News Source: ET AUTO
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