American carmaker Jeep has been enthused by automakers introducing SUVs in India that breach the four-metre-length mark and sees potential for growth outside of the popular compact SUV segment.
According to Jeep brand head Michael Manley, the American carmaker will not restrict its future model line-up for India to sub-four-metre SUVs.
“I find it really encouraging that many manufacturers have broken the guidelines and launched vehicles longer than four metres with engine displacement larger than 1.5 litre (diesel) due to the market demand. Even though the compact SUV segment in India is very relevant to my thought processes, it’s not going to box me in,” Manley told reporters on the sidelines of the 2017 Los Angeles Motor Show.
It is no secret that Renault witnessed a turnaround due to the huge success of the Duster. Hyundai, too, has seen considerable success with the Creta, which continues to remain the country's second bestselling SUV.
For Jeep India, sales of the Compass SUV have been growing at a healthy clip and the model is quickly turning out to be the volume product the company desperately needed. It aims to further tap the booming demand for SUVs with the launch of the Renegade in late 2018.
The Jeep Renegade is about the length of a Duster but is both wider and taller than the Renault. The look, however, is pure Jeep and true to its DNA, it would offer off-road ability as well, and this should be a key differentiator in the segment. Local assembly will enable Jeep to price the SUV competitively as well.
However, Manley made it amply clear that Jeep won't be taking its eyes off the sub-four-metre SUV segment. In fact, he even hinted at the introduction of a sub-four-metre SUV. “A big part of the market still needs sub-four-metre vehicles because it puts them in a very competitive spot. You may as well see a (Jeep) product in that category as there is absolutely going to be a big chunk of the market there,” he said.
The carmaker has been evaluating a smaller Jeep that will sit below the Renegade and go up against the market leader Vitara Brezza and the EcoSport. In July, we broke the news about the carmaker working on a sub-four-metre SUV, codenamed 515, specifically for India.
Jeep unveiled the all-new Wrangler at the Los Angeles motor show, now with an option of two diesel engines – a 197hp, 2.2-litre 4-cylinder unit and a 240hp, 3.0-litre V6. The new Jeep Wrangler is likely to go on sale in India around the festive season of 2018.
2017 Jeep Compass review, road test
2018 Jeep Wrangler image gallery