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Jeep, Fiat returning to India

by David Zatz on

Jeep and Fiat are planning to return to India in force, according to IndianAutosBlog. Jeep, which sells in 120 countries and was acquired by Kaiser precisely because of its worldwide presence, will be bringing out the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee in the third quarter of 2013. These will be followed by the much-discussed small SUV built in Italy, in 2015, and by the Patriot/Compass replacement in 2016.

FCA Jeep India

The plan is for Fiat to have 112 dealers and for Jeep to have 82 dealers across India by 2016. Fiat will launch four new products in the next two years, including an Abarth; the new Punto will be launched in 2014 and refreshed in 2015 and 2016. A B-segment Fiat SUV and new Linea will appear in 2014, while the current Fiat Linea will be rebadged to “Linea Classic” in 2013. Fiat currently has less than a 1% market share.

Starting in 1949, Willys Jeeps were made locally by Mahindra & Mahindra, as part of a collaboration with Willys Overland. In 1974, a new collaboration agreement was signed with Jeep, then part of AMC. Mahindra switched to Peugeot in 1979. Mahindra & Mahindra created a new automotive division in 1994 and still sells local Jeeps through 275 dealers. The product line includes the Liberty-lookalike Scorpio, which M&M claims is entirely locally designed; what appears to be a Wrangler-based pickup, the Mahindra; and a number of other vehicles with more or less resemblance to the current Wrangler and past Jeeps. This resemblance is likely a carryover of the early Willys designs and looks. Engines appear to be from Peugeot.

Ironically, Premier, which had started by selling Plymouth and Dodge cars and trucks, switched to Fiat in the mid-1950s. [See the full story of Chrysler and Jeep in India]

David Zatz founded Allpar in 1998 (based on a site he had begun in 1993-94), after years of writing reviews for retail trades. He has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. Before making Allpar a full-time career, he was a consultant in organizational psychology. You can reach him by using our contact form (much preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304


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