Jeep To Drive Petrol Options For India
The iconic brand is considering petrol powertrains for its entire Indian portfolio, which includes the Jeep Compass, Meridian, Grand Cherokee and Wrangler.
Jeep India is looking to double its monthly sales to 1,000 units, riding on the new affordable versions of its existing portfolio.
The iconic brand, now part of the Stellantis Group, is also considering having petrol powertrains for its entire Indian portfolio, which includes the Jeep Compass, Meridian, Grand Cherokee, and Wrangler.
India is the only country outside North America where Jeep makes four models locally, and also exports to other right-hand-drive markets around the world.
Aditya Jairaj, head of Jeep India Operations and Deputy Managing Director, Stellantis India, said the shift from diesel to petrol is taking place due to regulations and consequent customer preferences.
The company is considering bringing in petrol engines for the entire Jeep portfolio in India, he added.
While Jairaj did not wish to share timelines, he said these engines would be made locally.
At the moment, the Jeep Cherokee and Wrangler have petrol options.
“We are evaluating petrol powertrains for the rest of the portfolio as well. We have to build locally to stay competitive,” Jairaj said.
Stellantis has several powertrains globally, and one of them could be considered for India.
Tata Harrier and the MG Hector use the diesel Jeep engines made here.
Tata has already indicated that they are bringing a petrol and an electric Harrier, one of its popular SUVs.
Stellantis has indicated earlier that it is considering re-introducing Fiat in the Indian market.
Its brands include Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Citroen, Dodge, DS Automobiles, Fiat, Jeep, Lancia, Maserati, Opel, Peugeot, and Ram Vauxhall.
Jeep India has launched the Jeep Compass 4X2, starting from Rs 20.49 lakh, and the automatic range from Rs 23.99 lakh ex-showroom.
The revised Jeep line-up makes the automatic transmission on Compass more affordable by about 20 per cent (or Rs 6 lakh).
The sales of the Jeep Compass have been going downhill in the last few months, selling less than 300 units every month.
The entire Jeep range has been selling about 500 units on a monthly basis.
Jairaj told Business Standard that “With this launch, we are increasing the coverage of the C- SUV segment in India in terms of transaction price and drivetrains.”
From 10 per cent coverage now, Jairaj said their segment coverage in C-SUV would increase to 40 per cent.
The C segment SUVs in India include the Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara, the MG Astor, Tata Harrier, Hyundai Alcazar and Mahindra Scorpio.
By making the Jeep Compass more affordable and offering more drivetrains at affordable price points, Jeep is increasing the number of customers it reaches out to.
Jairaj admitted that the overall sales numbers had come down. But now they expected the run-rate to increase to 1,000 units a month from the next quarter.
Jeep is also bringing in special editions like the BlackShark for the Compass and the Overland for the Meridian to boost sales.
The company has planned its production at Ranjangaon plant, which makes around 25,000 cars annually, for India and export markets.
Feature Presentation: Rajesh Alva/Rediff.com
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