Jeep trying to punch out of Indian niche

Jeep has less than a 1% market share in India, where former Willys licensee Mahindra makes inexpensive vehicles that look remarkably like the Wrangler and other popular 4x4s. Jeep’s drive to increase sales is not helped by its global premium-brand strategy.

GME 2-liter turbo Wrangler built in Toledo

To try to change their current status as a rare niche vehicle, FCA is spending $250 million on one new locally-built three-row SUV (most likely a modified Chinese Jeep Grand Commander), launch the new Jeep Compass, and start local assembly of the Wrangler and Cherokee. Building these vehicles locally will help in adding locally made components, reducing cost; they will not be exported to the United States.

The plant is a joint venture with Tata Motors, the Indian automaker that owns Jaguar and Land Rover.

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David Zatz started what was to become the world’s biggest, most comprehensive Mopar site in 1994 as he pursued a career in organizational research and change. After a chemo-induced break, during which he wrote car books covering Vipers, minivans, and Jeeps, he returned with some friends to create StellPower.com, which is intended to end up as an enduring partnership. Contact him at (973) 925-6058 or check out the new junkyard/slant six book he edited.

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