Jeep plans mini SUV for under Rs 10L
The country is expected to take a lead as Jeep is targeting a sub four-metre version, which attracts lower excise tax and thus can be priced more aggressively.
Mike Manley, head of the Jeep brand, which is part of the Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles' (FCA) stable, said India is one of the “most critical“ markets for the company as it looks at a greater and stronger push into emerging countries, including Brazil and China.
The mini SUV, which is still in the drawing stage, will be the smallest in the company's line-up and India could be a global manufacturing hub for righthand drive markets. The country is expected to take a lead as Jeep is targeting a sub four-metre version, which attracts lower excise tax and thus can be priced more aggressively.
Manley said at the Los Angeles Motor Show that the vehicle will be positioned “on top of the Eco Sport“ and will be “very close“ to the Ford vehicle.
Manley said that a partnership with Tata Motors could be explored, but did not answer queries on whether he was eyeing a tie-up with the Indian company's British SUV brand Land Rover.
He said he is open to “discussions“ on exploring “opportunities“ with Tata Motors beyond the Ranjangaon joint venture (signed by parent FiatChrysler) that produces vehicles for both the companies. “Our relationship with Tata Motors is good... I would be very open to discussions with Tata about opportunities where collectively we could win,“ Manley told TOI when asked about possible joint product-development and vehicle platform strategies. Jeep will be launching a new SUV Compass in a few months and this will be the first vehicle manufactured from its factory at Ranjangaon. While Compass is likely to be positioned at Rs 15-20 lakh, Manley said the company may launch a locally-built Renegade off-roader below Compass.
(The writer is in Los Angeles at the invitation of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles)