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FCA India earmarks $250 million to develop 4 new Jeep SUV models

Fiat Chrysler launched the Jeep Compass in India in July and the SUV, despite being on the higher end of the price chart, has generated a strong response from customers. Photo: ReutersPremium
Fiat Chrysler launched the Jeep Compass in India in July and the SUV, despite being on the higher end of the price chart, has generated a strong response from customers. Photo: Reuters

  • The four new SUV launches planned over 2021-22 include the locally manufactured Jeep Compass and a three-row Jeep SUV, which the company says is an all-new vehicle in its global portfolio

MUMBAI: FCA India Automobiles Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of Italian-American carmaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles or FCA Group, has earmarked fresh investment of $250 million to expand its portfolio of locally built and assembled sport utility vehicles (SUVs).

“FCA today announced an expansion to the local product lineup in India, confirming that an investment of over $250 million has been committed towards the production of four new Jeep SUVs," the company said in a note on Tuesday.

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The four new SUV launches planned over 2021-22 include the locally manufactured Jeep Compass and a three-row Jeep SUV, which the company says is an all-new vehicle in its global portfolio.

The refreshed Jeep Compass is scheduled for commercial launch later this week. The company said it has already commenced the production of the updated SUV range.

Meanwhile, the all-new three-row, seven-seater, midsize Jeep SUV, codenamed H6, is planned for commercial launch next year, the company said.

In a fresh move, FCA also plans to locally assemble its iconic Jeep Wrangler and the next generation Grand Cherokee, it’s flagship SUV. The two vehicles would be assembled at FCA’s joint venture manufacturing facility at Ranjangaon, near Pune.

The four new products will be on Indian roads by end 2022, the company said.

“The new investment ($250 million) is in addition to $450 million we have already committed to our Indian operations over the past five years," said Partha Datta, managing director, FCA India, adding that it would give the company a competitive advantage in multiple premium SUV segments.

Currently, the Jeep Compass, which competes with Tata Harrier, Mahindra XUV500, Hyundai Tucson, MG Hector among others is the only locally produced SUV sold by the company.

While the Ranjangaon unit, where the Jeep Compass is produced, is one of the five other plants globally, the company said it has produced more than 70,000 units since its launch in 2017. That includes 50,000 units of the Compass sold in India and over 20,000 units exported over the past 3 years.

It also imports and sells Jeep Wrangler as a completely built unit (CBU) but the company said it has already sold all of its CBU stock last year.

Last month, the company said it had set up a global technology center, also called the Information and Communication Technology Center or FCA ICT, in Hyderabad, at an investment of $150 million.

While the new unit is FCA Group’s largest innovation and technology development center outside of North America and EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) countries, the company seeks to tap India’s vast talent pool of software engineers and create up to 1,000 new jobs by end-2021.

“We are determined to increase locally-made componentry in our vehicles which are produced in our joint venture manufacturing facility. Our plans in India are aimed at increasing the value proposition for customers through our products and services, working hard on customer satisfaction and unlocking business opportunities for our business partners," Datta said.

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