2013 is the Year of the Jeep
Fiat will bring the original Jeep to India in 2013 starting with Wrangler and Grand Cherokee
Let's admit it. We Indians are in love with SUVs. So as we had reported earlier, it was about time the Fiat Chrysler group got the legendary Jeep brand to India. The first SUV to be launched will be the Jeep Wrangler – the latest incarnation of the Willys MB (the father of all SUVs). The Wrangler will be a perfect machine for off-road junkies in India, who think the current crop of SUVs is a bit too soft.
Along with the Wrangler, Jeep will be getting their flagship, the Grand Cherokee. The Cherokee will cater to people looking for creature comforts and daily practicality rather than outright off-roading.
Looking at the popularity of the diesel engine in India, Jeep will be entering only with diesel power-plant for their SUVs. Powering the Wrangler will be a 2.8-litre common-rail diesel engine, while the Grand Cherokee will come with a 3.0-litre diesel V6.
Jeep has ambitious plans for India, as they will be setting up 32 dealers in 25 cities over the coming year. Come 2015, Jeep will assemble a smaller SUV in India to rival the BMW X1 and the Audi Q3.
Jeep is very clear that they will be looking for an adventure image rather than one of luxury, much unlike its direct rival, Land Rover. So we can safely assume that Jeep will play the value-for-money card to make Jeep a household name in India.
While most of the buzz will be around the Jeep brand, the next couple of years will also see Fiat introducing a refreshed Linea called Linea Classic, a new Linea and Grande Punto and a compact MPV. The most interesting bit Fiat revealed were plans for introducing the legendary Abarth moniker to India. Abarth is Fiat’s performance division where they jab and poke entertaining cars like the Punto and the 500 till they become snapping, snarling performance beasts. For Fiat’s sake we hope they aren’t looking at importing Abarths because Indians don’t take very well to import-duty laden expensive hatches. But if it’s all well thought out, then our only message to Fiat Chrysler is to keep at it.