There is no doubt about the fact that Indians are crazy about SUVs. The manufacturers definitely know that and they are constantly experimenting with the market, trying to add SUV like traits to lesser cars. This has spawned a very curious market, here in India. Not just full sized brutes, today the Indian market is led by the compact SUVs, micro-SUVs and even jacked-up hatchbacks trying to be pseudo-SUVs.
Jeep has been, for long, synonymous with SUVs in India and it too has recognized the potential that the Indian market could represent, especially for its unique line-up. The company seems to have been spurred by the strong feedback it has received for the Compass, with over a thousand people putting down their money for the SUV within just three days of its launch. That is a very significant figure, considering the fact that there is still no clarity on the exact price-point that the Compass will follow and the limited demand that the premium crossover segment entails in India.
Autocar India claims that Jeep is looking to expand its Indian line-up to five models over the next three years. The company’s retro-modern styled Renegade is likely to hit the Indian shores by the end first half of 2019. It will go up against the highly competitive compact SUV segment with powerful 1.4 Litre Multi-Air gasoline and 2.0 Litre Multi-Jet Diesel options.
Also Read: Jeep Renegade To Be Priced At INR 10 Lakh?
The interesting bit, however, is that Jeep is considering development of an all-new sub-four meter compact SUV for the Indian market. Although Jeep hasn’t officially approved the product yet, it is presently undergoing a detailed feasibility study under the codename 515.
Now, the curious sub-four meter car rules in India are a challenging set of norms for any manufacturer. Jeep is likely to face issues with sourcing a sub-1.5 litre diesel motor and may have to resort to downsizing its 1.6 L Multijet which may be a costly project. Promisingly, it is likely to carry Jeep’s hallmark off-roading DNA, which could give it a unique edge in the market.
The upcoming Compass is also likely to benefit from a ZF 9-speed auto box which could further enhance the impressive driving dynamics of the SUV. Evidently, the more off-road oriented Trailhawk version is also under consideration.
Prices, as always, are likely to be the crucial deciding factor. We are also hearing rumours that the American icon might be in talks with Tata to share engines, transmissions and chassis platforms which could give this onslaught the low-cost fangs it needs to gain traction, here in India.