For long, you drove watered down versions of the world's oldest SUV nameplate Jeep. Come 2013, India gets a chance to experience the real deal.
US car major Chrysler on Thursday announced its plan to bring in the fabled Jeep to India in the latter half of next year. The brand would venture into the country with its two premium offerings - Wrangler and Grand Cherokee.
Now part of the Fiat group, Chrysler's entry into the world's fifth largest automotive market is part of the Italian auto major's attempts to claw its way back into the market. Fiat commands a negligible 0.7% share in India.
The Turin-based firm has charted an ambitious plan to launch nine new or refreshed models from Fiat and Jeep brands in India by 2016 with a target to corner 5% of the Indian market.
It is also planning to launch a compact utility vehicle next year, which will be pitched against the Renault Duster and Ford's upcoming Ecosport while revamping its current portfolio with newer versions of the Grande Punto hatchback, and the Linea midsize sedan.
Meanwhile, Jeep will launch smaller siblings of Cherokee and Wrangler in India by 2015 and 2016. Chrysler plans made-in-India SUV in the R6-10 lakh category in 2015 and another one in R10-15 lakh category in 2016.
Fiat, which has formed its own independent sales entity when it ended the distribution tie-up with Tata Motors, plans a pan India dealer network to support its new marketing plans.
"We will have 112 dealers in 126 cities by the end of 2013," said Enrico Atanasio, managing director, Fiat Group India Private Limited.
Jeep will have its own 32 dealers in 25 cities across India.
As a generic term, 'jeep' is commonly used to describe rough terrain vehicles, testifying its premier status. Its successful multi-purpose use during World War II by the American army only served to enrich its status.