Jeep not likely to venture into the sub compact SUV category
When conversations took place between Jeep and the Indian media just before the American manufacturer stepped into India, indications were clear that the cult brand would look at getting into the compact and sub compact SUV segment. This was exciting news for the simple reason that these segments don't have an SUV with an all-wheel-drive powertrain. There was the potential to occupy a space vacated by Maruti's Gypsy and the soon to be replaced Thar. The then CEO of the Jeep division under the FCA umbrella, Michael Manley, was quiet and very positive about gaining an upper hand in this segment with products that he indicated were already under development.
However at a recently concluded meeting, the brand CEO of Jeep, Christian Meunier has now confirmed that the company won't put its hand in the sub-4 meter category of the Indian market and will continue to work on its big SUV portfolio.
Jeep intends to introduce numerous new cars in India, and we already know that the Jeep Meridian and Jeep Grand Cherokee will arrive this year, as confirmed by Meunier. However, any intentions it had for introducing a sub-4 meter SUV to the Indian market could be axed. According to Meunier, it would be essential to inject Jeeps DNA into any product and the subcompact SUV segment may not be able to absorb that - "Right now, we are not looking at making an entry into the sub 4 metre SUV. The car has to carry the Jeep DNA and we do not want to bring a Quasi-hatch styled car which does not live upto the expectations of Jeep customers. So the Renegade or any sub 4 metre SUV right now is off the table."
Jeep had planned to launch a sub-4-metre SUV in India in 2020, but those plans have definitely changed. Jeep is now trying to expand its SUV lineup in India but will remain out of the smaller SUV game.
Jeep is making India its manufacturing base, and the Ranjangaon facility will serve the demands of right-hand-drive countries in the Asia Pacific, with further markets being attentively examined. Jeep is set to bring the Jeep Meridian anytime this year and has now also confirmed the arrival and local assembly of the Jeep Grand Cherokee later this year.
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