According to observer/analyst “Prabhjot,” the FCA-Tata joint venture plant in Ranjangaon, India is being upgraded to produce Jeeps and two rumored Tata SUVs, to use the two-liter MultiJet diesel and nine-speed automatic.

FCA Jeep India

The joint venture already uses the plants to make three Fiats, one Abath, and two Tata small cars, mainly with locally-made Fiat diesel powertrains that are also supplied in large numbers to Maruti Suzuki, which holds massive market share in India.

Prabhjot believes that most Indian built right-hand-drive compact SUVs will be exported, since Indian sales are not expected to be large.  There are two reasons for this; the “Jeep” is associated with former Willys licensee Mahindra, and lacks the unique identity and premium it enjoys elsewhere. Asian crossovers and SUVs rule the mass market.

However, in other right-hand-drive markets, Jeep does have cachet — but making right and left hand drive cars in the same plant can slow things down. Thus, cars can be exported from India to relatively nearby Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and smaller RHD markets; they could also be sent to the United Kingdom itself.  Currency rates may have an impact on what’s made and where it’s sent.