Jeep launch rescheduled to 2015
Jeep lovers in India were all agog, waiting for the official launch of the iconic vehicle in 2014. However, Fiat Chrysler, owners of the brand, have announced that the launch has been put off till 2015. The company has adopted a wait and watch policy according to MD Nagesh Basavanhalli of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles India. He made the announcement at Chennai during the launch of the facelifted Punto. The Punto prices start at Rs. 4.67 lakhs for the basic model and goes all the way up to Rs 7.35 lakhs for its high end variant. At present the company has sold some 350 Puntos in the Southern markets while the Linea averages only 100 units per month.
Chrysler had a global reputation for its Jeep range comprising the Grand Cherokee, Cherokee, Wrangler, Patriot, Renegade and Compass models. The Grand Cherokee is the most awarded SUV model of the line. The Renegade Latitude and Tailhawk are the latest models with 4×4 drive capability and with features that would make it perfect for yuppies looking to take the vehicle across rugged terrain while camping. Given the current craze for stylish multifunctional SUVs one might well question the wisdom of a deferred launch. For Mahindra that is good news since it continues with the Willys models dating back to 1940s and its current SUVs are also doing well. The name Jeep evolved out of General Purpose or its initials corrupted a little bit and it stands for army, rough and tough life. Chrysler Jeeps are famously tough and have inspired copies in the shape of Land Rover in England and copies from Toyota and their ilk but none can match the American mystique.
Chrysler was acquired by Fiat but the Chrysler Jeep line continues to flourish as ever since Chrysler acquired American Motors, the original owners of the brand, in 1987. Fiat is optimistic about its line of cars such as the Punto Evo and Linea but has held back introduction of the Jeep range into India citing slow economic growth as a reason. The group plans to have more than 12 vehicles running on Indian roads by 2018, starting with the Fiat Abarth 500 next year. This model is redesigned to suit Indian conditions. It will be imported as a completely built unit in the initial phase.
All prices mentioned in the above article are ex-showroom Chennai.