Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the world’s seventh largest automaker, has announced it would spend $280 million to start the manufacturing process of Jeep models in India after 2017.
The massive investment is part of a new expansion of a joint venture with India’s Tata Motors, with FCA chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne ready to deliver on the highly ambitious sales threshold envisioned for the brand that is considered the group’s global ambassador. Marchionne also pursues a turnaround plan unveiled last year that concerns other brands in the group, with a deadline for 2018. By that year, the automaker has decided to reach almost double the record figure seen last year for Jeep, the first time ever when the brand clocked sales above the one million unit mark. Localized production for major regional markets remains crucial to achieve the targeted deliveries, according to Jeep chief Mike Manley. The new move is an “important step as we continue to expand the availability of Jeep products around the world”, commented Marchionne in an official company statement.
Jeep, next to its Italian sporty brand Alfa Romeo, is at the core of Marchionne’s 48 billion-euro ($54 billion) expansion strategy for the group that was established when Italy’s Fiat SpA merged with its wholly owned US subsidiary Chrysler. Jeep’s sales drive is relying heavily on India, which is coming out of a recession and is poised to become the world’s third-largest auto market, following China and the United States, by the start of the next decade, according to IHS Automotive.