Pune: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV’s India arm rolled out on Thursday the first locally manufactured Jeep Compass SUV from its Ranjangaon facility in Maharashtra.
The vehicle was rolled off the assembly line in the presence of Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis; Fiat Chrysler COO (Asia Pacific region, excluding China) Paul Alcala, Fiat India boss Kevin Flynn, among others.
With the commencement of the production of the Jeep Compass, India has joined China, Mexico and Brazil as a manufacturing and export hub for SUV.
“The establishment of manufacturing operations and start of production of the Jeep Compass is an important milestone for our journey in India," Alcala said. “The Compass will be the first Made-in-India Jeep, and we are appreciative of the government’s efforts to make India a desirable manufacturing destination for multinational organizations like ours," he said.
Fiat has invested $280 million in the plant to support local production of Jeep.
“With the start of production and an investment of $280 million in Jeep Compass localization, we are reaffirming our commitment to Indian consumers and our long-term presence in the country," Alcala added.
The Jeep Compass will be in full production in July and vehicles are expected to hit the market during the third quarter of the year in three variants—Sport, Longitude and Limited. Fiat said the export of the vehicle will commence in the last quarter of 2017.
By 2017-end, the Jeep brand portfolio in India will consist of three new models—Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Grand Cherooke and the Jeep Compass.
The Compass is the first model from the Jeep range to be produced in India. Fiat Chrysler had launched the Jeep brand in India in August last year with its completely built units (CBUs).
The Ranjangaon manufacturing plant, a 50:50 joint venture between FCA and Tata Motors Ltd, has capacity to produce 160,000 units and 350,000 engines. The Indian plant is the only one among the four global manufacturing units of Fiat that will roll out right hand drive models.
In 2014, Fiat Chrysler had announced plans to launch 12 models in India in five years and start producing models from the Jeep brand in the country by 2015. However, it had later revised the plan.