Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is building hopes on upcoming SUV Jeep Compass to turn-around fortunes of its challenging Indian operations with plans to make the nation an export center to global right-hand drive markets.
The Compass will be the first design from the Jeep range to be produced in India and is going to hit the domestic market in the third quarter of this year.
“Compass is the key that opens our future here in India,” FCA India President and Managing Director Kevin Flynn stated.
While the domestic market will be essential, he stated the company has modified its service model in India with exports to be provided equal value so that it has the ability to utilise capacity at its factory. The model will is going to be produced at Ranjangaon plant, which is a 50-50 joint venture with Tata Motors. It can produce 1.6 lakh units and 3.5 lakh engines. FCA has invested USD 280 million at the plant to promote local production of Jeep.
“We will be taking a look at right-hand drive markets for export of Compass. The initial markets that we have shortlisted are Japan, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa,” Flynn stated.
While the Compass might take more of the plant capacity, he stated there would also be space for other items. “The success of the Compass project will determine exactly what designs we would consider to use up under the new technique in future,” he stated.
Flynn stated the Indian plant is the only one of the four international manufacturing units of the automaker that will present right-hand drive designs. He said the company has likewise been concentrating on regional sourcing of parts in India. Other international manufacturers such as Ford and General Motors had changed their technique and began concentrating on exports from India. While he did not discussed future product plans, in 2014 FCA had announced strategies to introduce 12 designs in India in five years and begin producing designs from the Jeep brand in the nation by 2015.
Although it was revised later on. The presentation of Compass from Ranjangaon this year will mark the very first model from the brand to be produced from India. FCA has been having a hard time in the Indian market. Its sales in last year decreased by 24.71 percent to 6,785 units as compared to 9,013 units sold in 2015.