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Jeep to locally produce seven seater SUV in India, launch in 2020-2021

The new seven-seater SUV will be placed above the Compass SUV

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Jeep India, Compass, Trailhawk, SUV, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ranjangaon, Pune

In a bid to sustain the interest in the brand, the Italian-American auto major, Fiat Chrysler Automobile has approved a top of the line SUV - under its Jeep brand for the Indian market for 2020-2021.

The new seven-seater SUV will be placed above the Compass SUV and take on the likes of Toyota Fortuner, Ford Endeavour, Mahindra Alturas and Honda CRV, when launched.

To be locally manufactured at the Ranjangaon plant on the outskirts of Pune, the seven-seater SUV based on Compass is likely to hit the market in the second half of 2020 or first half of 2021.

The project has been approved and it will be an offspring of the all new Compass planned for 2020. With the launches of vehicles like Trailhawk, Compass and now the Grand Compass or Compass long, the company wants to reinforce Jeep's premium positioning in the market, before more accessible compact Jeep hits the market in the subsequent years.

Jeep had got off to a good start with the Compass SUV in the Indian market post its launch in mid-2017, however, the brand started coming off its peak with the overall slowdown in the market and intensifying competition in the premium SUV space in 2018-2019. Even the global volumes for Jeep are far from the estimated volumes the company had planned for.

The focus is on building the premium-ness around brand Jeep and rely on high margin products over volumes. To be sure, top of the line, Trailhawk was introduced last month to prove its fabled off-roading ability.

The product excitement will continue in 2020 with an all new Compass and longer Compass. The company will use this time to get the right inputs and attributes for smaller Jeep for global markets, for which India will be a key pillar of growth in the future.

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