After going it alone on the dealership and distribution front, Fiat India is showing intent of wanting to forge ahead in the Indian car market, a market in which it holds a minuscule market share currently. The Italian automaker Fiat owns American brand Chrysler, which in turn owns many car and SUV brands like Dodge and Jeep. Fiat India has plans of bringing Chrysler brands to the Indian car market and evidence of this appeared first in terms of the signage with which Fiat India’s press releases started coming with. Back then, Team ICB raised the question on whether Fiat is planning to debut Chrysler in India?
Now,we’re hearing that Fiat India is indeed planning to bring the Jeep brand of SUVs to the Indian car market. An official announcement in this regard is expected to be made in December, with 2013 being the year in which the Jeep range of SUVs could make their Indian debut. The Jeep range of SUVs are initially expected to be brought in through the CBU route. This could result in steep pricing, which suggests that the Jeep brand seems more like a brand builder for the next couple of years, at least until Fiat begins local assembly of the Jeep range of SUVs in India through the CKD route. So, Jeep seems to be taking a top down approach in the Indian car market.
Currently, the Jeep brand plays host to 4 SUVs, the Patriot, the Compass, the Wrangler and the Grand Cherokee. The Wrangler and the Grand Cherokee could be the SUVs that Fiat could launch in India given that the Wrangler is highly acclaimed for its off road prowess while the Grand Cherokee offers a blend of excellent off road behaviour along with good on-road dynamics. Also, the Grand Cherokee brings in a modicum of luxury and various creature comforts to a solid off roading package, which is something a potential buyer would expect considering the pricing at which it will be sold at, which could be well over 30 lakhs.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV to be sold in India is expected to feature a 3 Liter V6 turbo diesel engine. This engine is available in two states of tune, 188 Bhp-440 Nm and 237 Bhp-550 Nm. The Jeep range of SUVs that Fiat will bring to India are expected to be sold through the independent dealerships the Italian brand has been establishing across the country following its decision to exit the Tata-Fiat joint dealership and distribution alliance. Fiat will also establish standalone Jeep dealerships in select cities of India. The after sales service is expected to be handle by Fiat dealerships in the initial couple of years for the Jeep brand, following which Jeep could strike out on its own.