Another American icon, Jeep, will be on the Indian roads again in 2015 with the Cherokee and the Wrangler being the first entrants imported into the country. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will begin SUV brands central to its global expansion, in India in 2015, the brand’s chief, Mike Manley, speaking at a Fiat Chrysler test track event in southeast Michigan. By 2020 India will be the world’s third-largest auto market, behind China and the US, with sales nearly doubling to about 6 million vehicles, according to consultancy IHS Automotive.
But those models, which are two core vehicles for the brand, are expected to corner only a small fraction of the massive Indian market because their price will be escalated by the import duty. “If we’re going to be successful with Jeep, you’ll have to localize a vehicle in India,” he said. Jeep could start local production at a Fiat-Tata Motors Ltd joint-venture plant, but there is little spare capacity as Fiat just refreshed its lineup in India, Manley said. At the launch of Jeep sales, Manley said he wants 15 to 20 dealers there. Mr. Manley also said that Jeep is on track to meet Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne’s ambitious goal of selling 1 million vehicles globally this year, up 37 percent.