The Fiat Chrysler group is going to locally produce some Jeep branded SUVs in India. Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has officially announced an investment 280 million dollars for expanding the existing manufacturing facility at Ranjangaon, Aurangabad. This facility is already being used by Fiat India and its joint venture partner Tata Motors.
Expected to begin production in second quarter of 2017, the facility will also be producing a new Jeep product details of which have not been revealed yet. Are we smelling the sub-Renegade baby SUV here? Fiat has been planning for a long time to introduce the iconic Jeep brand in India and has been missing deadlines after deadlines.
However this new announcement does make sense as it would help the company price the products very aggressively thanks to cheaper cost of production. The announcement was made as a delegation led by Mr Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister of Maharashtra met with the senior management of Jeep at the North American headquarters of FCA in the US.
The plant in Ranjangaon will be the fourth facility outside the US where Jeep branded vehicles will be produced. Others include, Italy, Brazil and soon to be opened facility in China. An elated Sergio Marchione, who has been working hard to make the group grow, said,
“Establishing Jeep production in India will give us the opportunity to offer even more people the chance to experience the freedom and adventure that can come from behind the wheel of a Jeep vehicle.”
So is this why Fiat has been delaying the launch of Jeep in India for so long? Launching them as CBUs at a high price point may not have been a great idea. If Jeep can really pull this off expect a killer pricing for the Renegade. A sticker price of around 10-12 lakhs for the entry level Jeeps can give it a strong boost and position it very well against the other manufacturers in this space, especially the oncoming onslaught by the already established players in the market.