Made-in-India Jeep Compass to be exported to Australia, Japan and UK

14th Apr 2017 8:00 am

Compass' mother plant for all right-hand-drive markets to be at Ranjangaon.

FCA India, the Indian arm of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, is all set to introduce its Jeep Compass compact SUV (C-SUV) in the market. The new model, which has seen an investment of US$280 million (Rs 1,768 crore), is going to be the first locally assembled product from the Jeep stable in India and the vehicle will be built at FCA India’s plant in Ranjangaon near Pune.

The big news, however, is that India will host the Jeep Compass' mother plant for all right-hand-drive markets, including the UK, Japan and Australia. The Compass will be available globally in as many as 17 engine-gearbox and drivetrain configurations and some of them will be manufactured in India for global markets. The five-seater is 4,398mm long, 1,667mm tall and 1,819mm wide (with mirrors folded).

On the outside, the new Compass looks like a mini Grand Cherokee. To begin with, the profile is more square than sporty, setting it apart from the crowd. There is an air of sophistication in the manner in which the body and the roof integrate towards the rear, and the chrome lining that loops around looks quite upmarket too. Up front, you get the familiar Jeep seven-slot grille and headlight combo; the Jeep's typically squared-off wheel arches stand out too. The Compass also gets LED elements in the headlamps and tail-lamps.

Built on the same platform as the Renegade (small, wide 4x4), the Compass, however, features a longer wheelbase for greater space on the inside and a mildly altered suspension system. The SUV gets frequency selective damping, which automatically alters the dampers for rough roads and corners, and an electric handbrake as well.

 

According to James Lyijynen, project engineer (pictured above), the Jeep Compass is built using lightweight yet robust frame, which is made of high-strength steel composite.

The Jeep Compass is expected to be launched in the price range of Rs 18-25 lakh, ex-showroom, sometime around August 2017. The SUV has been under development since the last three years, with extensive testing being conducted all across the country. Production is now slated to commence in June 2017, with a focus on achieving premium quality and finesse levels, up to the extent of 1mm.

Kevin Flynn, president and MD, FCA India, says, “The local production of the Jeep Compass is firmly on track and we are all set to begin local production of the Jeep brand’s Global SUV by June this year. The Jeep Compass will come with industry-first features and will set benchmarks in the Indian SUV space.”

The Compass will come loaded with off-road Jeep credentials, including its four-wheel drive system, the Jeep Active Drive, which will come paired with its Selec-Terrain traction management system. The C-SUV will also be a lot more efficient by utilising Driveline Disconnect Technology (DDT), which would disengage the rear axle in normal driving conditions, keeping the vehicle in 2WD mode.

The C-SUV would also boast of a Frequency Selective Damping (FSD) system, which will offer variable damping, by sensing the undulations on the road. The Compass also scores high on the safety front, with more than 50 safety features on-board, including six airbags with dual stage passenger airbags, ABS, ESC, Hill Start Assist and Dynamic Safety Torque (DST) to name a few. Audio duties will be taken care of by a 7-inch Uconnect touchscreen infotainment system, offering both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

 

The Jeep Compass will come with both petrol as well as diesel engine options, with the petrol being a 1.4-litre Multi-Air unit, producing around 160hp and 250 Nm of torque, while the 2.0-litre Multijet diesel motor will develop around 170hp and 350 Nm of peak torque. Both engines will come mated with either a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed Dual Dry Clutch Technology (DDCT) automatic gearbox.

 

FCA India's Ranjangaon plant has an annual vehicle production capacity of 160,000 units, a powertrain capacity of 350,000 engines and 300,000 transmission units. 

By pointing its Jeep Compass at a fast-growing India market, FCA will be looking to ride the wave of surging sales of SUVs. In 2016-17, the segment saw handsome 30 percent YoY growth. FCA India, which sold only 2,731 units, has a meagre 0.19 percent market share of the passenger vehicle segment. Can the Compass do the trick?

 

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