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Fiat debuts Jeep Wrangler, Cherokee models in India

The Jeep SRT displayed during the Auto Expo at Greater Noida (pic: Dalip Kumar)

The Jeep SRT displayed during the Auto Expo at Greater Noida (pic: Dalip Kumar)

 

  Italian car maker Fiat on Tuesday announced the entry of two sports utility vehicles (SUVs) under Chrysler-owned Jeep brand, making it the first launch after the lifting of the ban on sale of big SUVs by the Supreme Court.

Jeep Wrangler has debuted with prices starting at Rs 71.59 lakh while the starting price of the Jeep Grand Cherokee is Rs 93.64 lakh (both prices are ex-showroom, Delhi).

Early this month, the Supreme Court lifted the ban on sale of vehicles with diesel engines whose capacity is above 2,000cc in the National Capital Region. This came as a big relief to Toyota, Tata Motors, and Mercedes-Benz which were the most affected.

Both SUVs will come as completely built units though there were expectations the Wrangler would be brought in a completely knocked down form. The luxury SUVs will compete against models of Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, Volvo, Porsche and Land Rover.

A third model, which will be a premium SUV, will be made in India next year at Fiat's Ranjangaon plant near Pune where it makes the Grande Punto, Linea and Avventura apart from some Tata Motors models. The Jeep Wrangler comes with a four-door, single-trim version called Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. The premium SUV will get a 2.8-litre eco-diesel, four-cylinder engine with 200ps with an automatic transmission.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee line-up will include the aggressive, fast and athletic Grand Cherokee SRT (Rs 1.12 crore), the luxurious Grand Cherokee Summit (Rs 1.03 crore) and the classy and refined Grand Cherokee Limited (Rs 93.64 lakh).

Kevin Flynn, president and managing director of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles India, said: “We have invested $280 million in our facility at Ranjangaon near Pune to mobilise our localisation strategy. We are on track with our plans to manufacture and roll out an all-new, premium Jeep SUV from our plant in 2017. Aftersales, too, plays a significant role in our India strategy. With the launch of the Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Grand Cherokee, we will set a strong foundation for all the aspects that will further strengthen our future in India.”

Fiat Chrysler India will open 10 new distribution outlets in nine cities by the end of this calendar year to sell the Jeep products here. Fiat will have a partial branding of its own brand in at least two of these stores for promotion.

Ahmedabad will be the first to host a Jeep Destination Store, followed closely by New Delhi and Chennai in September. The Mumbai outlet will open in October, along with a second outlet in New Delhi, both before Diwali, followed by Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Kochi and Bengaluru.

The company will offer a two-year, unlimited-mileage manufacturer’s warranty as standard on both the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Jeep Wrangler. The warranty will have international coverage and will be transferable to the second owner. A 24/7 helpline and roadside assistance programme called Jeep Assist is also being offered, which will cover the vehicles for a two-year, unlimited mileage period. Toll-free assistance will be provided 24/7 in case of accidents and breakdowns. Additionally, customers will be provided with a return-journey, business-class air ticket or a hotel stay.