Mumbai: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which is trying to reboot its India story, has said its maiden locally produced model 'Jeep Compass' will be rolled out in the first half of the next year from its plant at Ranjangaon, Pune.
Till last week, FCA India, which last month introduced its maiden two models of Jeep (Wrangler & Grand Cherokee), was calling this new SUV with a code name of 'C-SUV'.
With Compass, which according to sources is likely to be priced below Rs 25 lakh, FCA is planning to take on the price-sensitive mid-market SUV segment.
It will be pitted against the BMW X1, Hyundai Tucson, Honda CR-V, Toyota Fortuner, Ford Endeavour, Chevrolet Trailblazer and Audi Q3.
"We have named our first to-be-India-made SUV as Jeep Compass which will be locally manufactured from mid-2017. The Compass will be our first localised Jeep product in India and will roll out of our Ranjangaon facility near Pune," Fiat Chrysler Automobiles India president and managing director Kevin Flynn told PTI.
Flynn refused to comment on the price of Compass but had said that it would be priced competitive.
The USD 280-million Ranjangaon plant has an annual capacity of 1,60,000 units, which at present is being used by Fiat, he added.
The company unveiled Compass in Brazil last week and will be showcased at the forthcoming Los Angeles Auto show as well for the North American market.
On August 30, FCA had launched two models of its legendary Jeep models -- Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Grand Cherokee -- in the country.
Due to the heavy customs duty, which varies from 130 to 180 percent, the legendary Jeep Wrangler is priced at Rs 71.59 lakh, while the 6.4 litre Jeep Grand Cherokee in petrol version is priced at Rs 93.64 lakh and going up to Rs 1.12 crore, while its 3-litre, 8-speed diesel engine version comes at Rs 93.64 lakh.
Flynn termed the customer response to the Grand Cherokee and Wrangler as tremendous.
"Both models have given us a great head start here, as we anticipated," he said, adding in the run-up to the Compass launch, the company will "open 10 dealerships in nine cities by the end of 2016 and will have more dealerships in next year as our business moves into the new phase of growth".
These dealerships will be under the brand name of Jeep Destination Store, he said, adding first stores came up in Ahmedabad and Delhi last month, the company said, adding the next will come in Chennai and Mumbai early October.
Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Kochi and Bangalore will have outlets before the end of December.
On the projected market share the company is looking at, he said "by adding Compass to our portfolio, we hope to have significant presence in the market going forward," but did not quantify it.
The history of the iconic Jeep from Chrysler goes back 75 years. The American Chrystle incidentally is also the inventor the SUVs in the world.
Earlier Flynn had told PTI that the company would be assembling Wrangler and Grand Cherokee at the Pune plant from the second quarter of 2017.
"From the second quarter of next year, we will have Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Grand Cherokee being manufactured from our Ranjangoan plant," Flynn said, adding the company would also add another premium SUV next year.
It can be noted that the Jeep came to the country soon after the World War II, when the American army shipped a lot of them from Burma to India.
The Jeep's global vehicle line-up consists of the Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, Patriot, Renegade, Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited.
FCA, which is the seventh-largest automaker in the world, designs, engineers, manufactures, distributes and sells vehicles under the Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Fiat Professional, Jeep, Lancia, Ram, SRT brands as well as luxury cars under the Maserati brand.
FCA also operates in the components sector, through Magneti Marelli and Teksid, and in the production systems sector, through Comau and in after-sales services and products under the Mopar label across 40 countries and has commercial relationships with customers in around 150 markets.