After years of delays, Fiat Chrysler has finally announced that its Jeep brand is ready to start the sales in India in mid-2016.
Part of Fiat Chrysler global expansion strategy, the start of Jeep brand’s sales on the Indian market has been announced at the 2016 Auto Expo in New Delhi. The Italian-American automaker first revealed its intention to enter India back in 2013, but the plans were put on hold because FCA did not feel the marque would enter the market in a strong position. With a line-up of three SUVs, Wrangler Unlimited, Grand Cherokee and the high-performance Grand Cherokee SRT, Jeep sales in India will start in mid-2016, a year that also marks the brand’s 75th anniversary.
“Our aggressive expansion in international markets is one of the key drivers behind our current global sales momentum,” Mike Manley, Head of Jeep Brand, FCA, and Chief Operating Officer of the Asia Pacific Regional Operations Group, said. “Last year, we started local production in Brazil and China, and today, we are launching the Jeep brand in the fifth largest market in the world, India, setting the foundation for our future growth in this country.”
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced last year its intention to invest approximately 280 million dollars in its manufacturing joint venture, Fiat India Automobiles Private Limited, with Tata Motors Limited. The investment in the Ranjangaon plant, India, will support the production of a new Jeep model, which is expected to begin operation in 2017, the automaker said.
However, sales will start slow, and will reach 1,500 to 2,000 vehicles in 2017, Jeep Chief Executive Mike Manley said last month during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. He said a dealer network for Jeep in India needs to be developed. By the end of this year, Manley hopes that Jeeps will be sold from 15 to 30 existing Fiat dealerships in the 10 to 15 largest cities.