Before we talk about Jeep, in the past few years it has become clear that we Indians want more options when it comes to utility vehicles. Older hatchback or sedan owners are upgrading to something with a taller seating position, higher ground clearance, more space and with looks that are boxy and have road presence on our highways. Even first time buyers are not playing it safe with a small car but are instead going for compact utility vehicles. Indian manufactures are thus, scurrying to cover as much ground as they can with new models for every size, segment and price range.
So when it comes to SUVs, apart from Mahindra the other manufacturer that completely relies on such vehicles is – Jeep. Currently Jeep has the locally manufactured, facelifted Compass and the all new Wrangler which is assembled in India. If it has not come across your mind while considering to buy a new car, the Wrangler now retails for Rs 64 lakhs (on-road, Mumbai) for the Unlimited variant and Rs 68.6 lakhs (on-road, Mumbai) for the Rubicon model. The Compass that has shouldered Jeep operations till now in India and starts at Rs 19.9 lakhs (on-road, Mumbai) and goes up to Rs 33.04 lakhs for its S trim. Jeep also sold 846 cars last month (April) in India and 1,360 cars in the month (March) before that. S0 what is needed?
Well at the start of the year, Jeep had announced an investment of Rs 1827 crore for four new cars which included the above two mentioned models plus the Jeep H6 and the new Grand Cherokee which will be assembled here too. But shortly after that Citroen entered the market and joined forces with Jeep as they function globally under Stellantis, the group formed after the merger of FCA and PSA. Because of which we even saw leadership changes. Roland Bouchara was appointed as the new Managing Director and CEO, Stellantis India and Asia Pacific – now responsible for Citroen, Jeep sales and manufacturing operations. Partha Dutta now – Head of Engineering, Design, Research & Development (R&D) with Stellantis for the the Asia-Pacific and India regions.
With that in place what does the future now hold? We think apart from the Wrangler and the Grand Cherokee, Jeep need three new cars to take the fight to OEMs like Mahindra, Tata, Toyota and Hyundai. Read more below.
Jeep Compact SUV
As we speak Jeep is working on getting a sub-four meter car in India. Under the stewardship of former Jeep India MD, Kevin Flynn plans for such a car were being drawn up. You can read our interview below with the Kevin to know more about Jeep India at the time. We think with the pandemic raging since the start of 2020 new models have been delayed with the exception of starting local assembly of the Wrangler. With a sub-four meter SUV will open Jeep up to one of the most competitive segments in the market and will be able to make a dent in sales of other OEMs and gain new customers by having a product in that price range. We already know manufacturers like Volkswagen and Skoda too have plans for this segment.
Jeep C-Segment SUV
With the Compass, Jeep has in some cases found old Creta customers buying their car but overall one can’t really compare the two as the lower priced Creta does offer more value for money albeit with smaller engines and no 4WD. But for buyers who don’t hold those two aspects against the Creta – the Hyundai with it’s features, space, size, comfort, lower price tag and decent looks is enough to make it India’s top selling SUV. Currently competing with cars like the Seltos, Kicks and Duster, the Creta needs more rivals. Jeep needs to be in that segment with a car that can challenge the Creta and gain buyers who want an SUV between Rs 12 lakhs to Rs 22 lakhs.
Jeep 7 seater SUV
For the Jeep 7 seater SUV we know a quite bit already. It has been codenamed – H6. It is an all new car. Global Head of Jeep Design, Ralph Gilles, confirmed, “The H6 is an absolutely custom vehicle. There’s really two bits left from its donor car; it’s a very purpose-built vehicle. It’s going to be our first (midsize) three-row SUV.” We know that the car will use the more powerful tune of 200bhp from the 2.0-litre engine that is used on the Compass. It will get a 9 speed automatic gearbox. The car will obviously get 4WD and other segment features. This car will sit right beneath the Wrangler in India. It will rival cars like the Volkswagen Tiguan AllSpace, Skoda Kodiaq, Toyota Fortuner, Ford Endeavour, MG Gloster, Mahindra Alturas G4 and the Isuzu MUX.
We can’t wait for this car to cause a stir in the sub-Rs 45 lakh SUV market in India. Currently, no name has been decided for this car. In international markets, the name – Commander could be used. For India we are not certain. It will be coming next year in 2022.
Which car are you most excited about? Tell us below.
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