After having a strong start in the Indian premium SUV segment with a single product, Jeep has been facing the pressure of slowdown like every other OEM in the country. The FCA-owned SUV brand registered a decline of 17% in FY2019, selling about 16,000 units.
Moving forward, Jeep India is planning to take advantage of the popularity of 7-seat premium SUVs in our market to expand its business. Economic Times reports that, according to its sources, the American SUV brand is currently working on a new 7-seat SUV which will be positioned above the Compass.
The new model in question will be based on Compass’ platform and will have FCA’s Ranjangaon plant as its primary manufacturing base. Likely to be called as Grand Compass (or Compass Long), the 7-seater will be locking horns with the likes of Toyota Fortuner, Ford Endeavour, and Skoda Kodiaq. The upcoming 7-seat variants of the MG Hector and Tata Harrier (to be called as Buzzard in international markets) will also compete with the new Jeep.
The publication reports that the Jeep Compass 7-seater will be ready alongside the mid-life refresh for the existing 5-seater variant. Both products are expected to be ready by second half of 2020 or early 2021. Given that the Compass is already heavily localized, we expect the 7-seater variant to be priced aggressively.
The new larger SUV above the Compass suggests that Jeep India is looking to augment its portfolio with high margin models rather than volume generators. Having said that, Jeep is also working on a smaller crossover for India that would slot below the Compass to take on the likes of Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos.
While India will be the key market for the upcoming Jeep Grand Compass, the vehicle would help FCA gain right inputs and attributes for the upcoming global compact Jeep. The volume potential of the Fortuner rival means that India could quickly rise to become one of the primary markets for the brand.
The Jeep Grand Compass is most likely to retain its smaller sibling’s powertrain lineup. The 1.4-liter MultiAir turbo petrol is good for 163 hp while the 2.0-liter MultiJet diesel unit produces 173 hp.