Will Jeep Compass be the most affordable luxury SUV in India? | autos | Hindustan Times
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Will Jeep Compass be the most affordable luxury SUV in India?

The Compass will be Jeep’s first model to be rolled out of the Ranjangaon factory near Pune. The car costs $20,995 to $28,995 in the US which roughly translates to Rs 14 lakh to Rs 19 lakh in India, sans the taxes.

autos Updated: May 05, 2017 10:58 IST
Gulshankumar Wankar
The Compass will be Jeep’s first model to be rolled out of the Ranjangaon factory near Pune.
The Compass will be Jeep’s first model to be rolled out of the Ranjangaon factory near Pune. (Jeep.com)

American original brand Jeep will showcase its first “Made-in-India” sport utility vehicle Compass on Wednesday. The Compass will be added to the Jeep India portfolio, in which the Wrangler starts at around Rs 56 lakh and the Grand Cherokee comes at between Rs 93 lakh and Rs 1.1 crore.

The Compass will be Jeep’s first model to be rolled out of the Ranjangaon factory near Pune. The Wrangler and the Grand Cherokee are at present imported in India as completely built units.

In the US, the four variants of Compass – Sport, Latitude, Trailhawk and Limited – cost $20,995 to $28,995 which roughly translates to Rs 14 lakh to Rs 19 lakh in India, sans the taxes. The extent of production localisation of the product is not known yet, but a likely 10% premium on the car’s American price tag and the Jeep Compass could start at Rs 16 lakh in a Delhi showroom, making it the most-affordable luxury SUV in India.

Even Hyundai Tucson (starting Rs 19 lakh ex-Delhi) and Honda CR-V (starting Rs 22.5 lakh ex-Delhi) would then become costlier than the base model of Jeep Compass.

“The Compass would be the mainstay model for Jeep in India. It has a different character altogether, very different from the Tucson or the CR-V, so the target buyers are not really the same set,” said analyst Anil Sharma of IHS Markit.

But getting a brand new Jeep at that price may encourage SUV-buyers of the Rs 12-15 lakh budget to dig their pockets deeper and go up to Rs 16-18 lakh. That means, Mahindra’s XUV500, Tata Hexa, Hyundai Creta and Nissan Terrano may face some heat too.

Also, buyers of premium SUVs like BMW X1 and Audi Q3, which come north of Rs 30 lakhs, could also settle with the Rs 20-lakh Jeep Compass.

So will Jeep Compass be the most affordable premium SUV in India?

Amit Kaushik, India MD of strategic consulting firm Urban Science, said, “If FCA manages to price it right, which they seems to be, it will be fortune-maker for them in India.” He expects the Compass to be priced around Rs 15 lakh.

Jeep needs to intelligently price the Compass in order to lift the brand in India, which didn’t take off at its debut last year owing to very steep prices of the Wrangler and the Grand Cherokee. The brand’s success is very vital for its parent Fiat Chrysler Automobile (FCA), whose other two brands in India -- Fiat and Abarth -- are struggling to turn around their fortunes.

Fiat India’s market share is less than 0.1% with its sales halving to 353 in March 2017 from 712 in March 2016.

“A lot depends on the Compass which is the single most-crucial model for Fiat Chrysler in India. The car looks good and even the pricing can be great, not necessarily aggressive. But the Compass would definitely be the make or break model for the FCA in India,” Sharma said.

The introduction of the goods and service tax, most likely from July 1, will also bring down the on-road price of the cars. But no date has been fixed for the launch of the Compass. “We are only showcasing the product now and only technical details will be revealed; nothing on business,” a company spokesperson told HT.