When Jeep India introduced the Wrangler in August 2016, fans of the iconic nameplate were in for some serious disappointment after hearing the price. Jeep may have slashed prices of the Wrangler since, and have also introduced a more affordable petrol variant, but at INR 58.74 lakhs, ex-Showroom, New Delhi, the starting price is still very steep owing to the CBU status.
Obviously, the expectation among buyers is that Jeep will be more reasonable in pricing the all-new Wrangler 'JL' series, which is due to launch by the end of this financial year. Many internet reports claim that Jeep will achieve by local assembly, which sure sounds logical, but sadly, is not the case.
IndianAutosBlog learns that the Wrangler JL will continue to be imported as a fully built unit from Jeep's mother plant in Toledo, Ohio. The Wrangler JL, sources say, is not designed to be shipped in partly made kits, and then assembled at a local plant. Hence, as far as price expectation is concerned, the forthcoming Wrangler JL is not expected to seriously undercut its predecessor.
Jeep India's plan is to continue to have the Wrangler as a halo product; the name may be synonymous with Jeep elsewhere but it is still a niche offering in the Indian market. With the upcoming Wrangler JL, Jeep India may also consider introducing the smaller 2 door variant, which is also a part of the local testing fleet.
Engine options include 2.2L MultiJet II turbo diesel (200 PS/450 Nm), 2.0L turbo petrol (272 PS/400 Nm) and 3.6L Pentastar naturally aspirated petrol (284 PS/347 Nm) in international markets. All engines are available with an 8 speed automatic transmission but the 3.6L gets a 6 speed manual in addition.
Jeep India, however, is serious on increasing its market share in the premium segments as well. The next generation of the Jeep Grand Cherokee will be planned such that knocked down kits can be supplied to plants such as India for local assembly to take place, thereby reducing costs. However, the new Grand Cherokee is not due at least until 2020.
Jeep also hopes that by early next decade, it can offer an attractive range of products in the INR 10 - 20 lakhs segment, including the existing Jeep Compass (which would be receiving a facelift by 2021), the Jeep Renegade (in its second generation avatar, by 2022) and the much talked about Jeep sub-4 metre SUV (in 2020).
In the meantime, Jeep India will expand its sales and after sales presence in the country, and launch variant additions and special editions on the Jeep Compass.