American iconic utility vehicle maker Jeep entered India in August with the launch of Wrangler and Grand Cherokee variants. The company also made announcement that it will also manufacture affordable SUVs in India. While the new Compass has been confirmed as first made in India Jeep product, the second model will be a compact SUV that will go up against the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza and Ford EcoSport.
Michael Manley, head of Jeep brand at the on-going 2016 Paris Motor Show said: "We'll definitely explore a model below the Renegade. I'm pretty confident that as we get into the future this will be a viable segment for us." For uninitiated, Renegade is the most affordable SUV in the Jeep's portfolio at present.
The B segment Jeep is expected to be a sub- 4 metre SUV that has been codenamed Jeep 526. This model will be based on the Fiat X6H platform which is an evolution of the original 326 architecture. The basic design of the B Jeep is likely to be extracted from the Renegade SUV. Both models will also share as many components as possible to keep the cost in check.
The SUV will boast of many premium features and will be priced above the rivals to position it as a lifestyle offering in the segment. The SUV is expected to be priced from Rs 10 lakh onwards. Just like the Compass, Jeep's B segment SUV will be manufactured at Fiat's Ranjangaon facility in India.
The debut of the new Jeep compact SUV is expected next year and will likely be manufactured at Fiat's Betim plant in Brazil first. Sales will be limited to South American markets initially.