Stung by how price-sensitive the Indian car market is, Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is doing everything to ensure it’s as cost-competitive here as possible. The Compass is a make or break model and the company intends to price it very aggressively.
The company intends to produce 47,000 Compasses from its India factory in the first year, of which around 25,000 will be exported to right-hand-drive markets, while the rest will be sold locally.
There will be more variants added to the Compass range later, including one with a ZF-sourced nine-speed auto gearbox mated to the 2.0-litre diesel. The hardcore Trailhawk version could also make its way here.
The Renegade, which is a smaller SUV that will be more of a Creta rival, will follow the Compass. Under the hood will be the same 1.4 Multiair and 2.0 turbo-diesel engines. The Renegade’s power output though may be lower, at 140hp. The Renegade was launched in 2015 globally, and will be almost halfway through its life cycle when it comes to India, so we’re expected to get the facelifted version. The company is considering altering the car’s design – it might be too boxy for Indian tastes. The Renegade will be cheaper than the Compass, but it may not sell in higher numbers because of the competitiveness of the segment it falls in.
The company is also working on a sub-four-metre SUV (Code: 515) specifically for India, but will also be sold in markets like Brazil and Russia. Jeep is still working out costs for the project. A big issue is sourcing a suitable diesel motor – it has to be under 1.5 litres to avail of the ‘small car’ tax benefits. The company’s 1.3 Multijet would be underpowered and will be phased out soon. A better option is the Fiat’s ‘Family B’ engine. This motor powers the Compass and will be locally produced as well, which will work in the company’s favour. Fiat is currently finding ways to make the 515 feasible, which, according to company sources, is likely to become a reality, assuming Jeep’s volumes pick up seriously in India.