Greater Noida | Italian automaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles today said it will launch the Jeep brand in the country during the middle of the year with two products, both in diesel and petrol variants.
The company, which had initially planned to debut Jeep in India with just diesel engines, now plans to launch Grand Cherokee and Wrangler Unlimited in both the versions. Fiat changed its plans after India came up with new regulations regarding the diesel engines due to pollution concerns.
We will enter India with two products this year and we will also manufacturing locally next year… India market will be a big part of our growth as we move from here. We are looking to become a serious volume player, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Director – Jeep Product Marketing Jim Morrison said.
This year, however, the company will import the completely built units of the vehicles and start local manufacturing next year. On sales network, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles APAC President and MD Kevin Flynn said: In the first phase we will set up dealership network in seven cities and increase it to 10 just before we start local manufacturing next year.
After that we will look at expanding dealership network to tier 1 cities. The dealer network would be set up in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Cochin. In the next phase it will open dealership in Kolkata, Lucknow and Chandigarh, the company said.
The company has already announced investment of USD 280 million in the country in its manufacturing joint venture with Tata Motors to support production of Jeep model. It will convert the Ranjangaon plant to manufacture Jeep models from next year.
When asked if the brand has been late in entering in the thriving SUV market in India, Morrison said: We are entering at the perfect time. Indian market has been growing.. Decision to enter now was mostly about connection between volumes associated with local production.
He said the company is looking at selling two million units globally by 2018 and India will play a big part in our growth. Jeep sold 1.2 million units globally last year.
On launching petrol engines he said: Originally we had planned to bring in only Diesel engines but due change in regulations we have adapted and we will introduce 3.6 litre VC petrol engine. Initially the company will sell Diesel engine vehicles only and petrol engines will be introduced soon after.
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