FCA launched the brand Jeep in India in 2016 with two products – the Grand Cherokee and Wrangler Unlimited. The asking price was too high for these CBU SUVs to make a strong impact in their respective segments. However, FCA’s plans to manufacture its latest compact SUV, Compass in its Ranjangaon facility in India set high hopes for a tough fight in the compact luxury SUV segment dominated by the Germans.
Fast forward to 2017 and Jeep’s plans to bring the Compass to India are taking shape. And thankfully, this time FCA’s focus is on sprucing its sales-and-service network and quality in India, something it faced much criticism for in the past. FCA’s president and managing director, Kevin Flynn’s recent statement is a testimony of the same. He said,
“We will have a combination of new investors and existing dealer partners in our network enhancement drive. Quality and efficiency is our primary focus. Our network expansion plan will be proportionate to our growing volumes, now with the Jeep Compass joining the current product portfolio.”
Destination Stores will stand at the core of FCA’s network expansion strategy in India for the brand Jeep and Fiat-Abarth-Jeep in unison. These new dealer showrooms will first be set up in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Kochi and Bengaluru by mid-2017. Workshops that will cater to Jeep and Abarth products will also find a footing in the same cities where Destination Stores will be set up. FCA will also be overhauling its existing network which primarily caters to the brand Fiat.
While the company is making itself reachable to more locations than ever, it will try to ensure spare part availability throughout India by way of e-retail. Customers will be able to order spare parts of cars under the FCA umbrella online. It remains to be seen how efficiently will FCA be able to manage this process.
FCA’s timeline for setting up of Destination Stores forces us to speculate that the Compass will not be here anytime soon, at least not in Q1-2017. However, we expect FCA to launch the premium compact SUV in India by the 2017 festive season.