FCA could launch the Trailhawk variant of the Jeep Compass before the end of this year to redeem sales
FCA India Automobiles Pvt Ltd rejuvenated its domestic operations with the introduction of Jeep brand. With the Wrangler and Cherokee positioned in the premium end of the scale, the real breakthrough arrived when the Compass was launched at the end of July 2017. With the increased affinity of customers towards premium SUVs, FCA played its cards perfectly and made the Compass a desirable offering.
The Italian-American firm wanted to expand Jeep’s footprint beyond home market of United States due to the global craze for SUVs. In 2016, a huge investment on FCA’s Ranjangaon facility in Maharashtra was announced under the supervision of the late Sergio Marchionne as India has since been acting as a global production hub of Compass for Right-hand-drive markets such as Japan, Australia, the UK and Ireland.
The facility adheres to the domestic needs as well, as the phenomenal response received for Compass was met through its over a year run in the Indian market. It was officially announced less than four months back that the Compass crossed 25,000 unit sales, but in August and September the premium SUV could not replicate the sales of corresponding months in 2017.
In August 2018, FCA sold 717 units lesser than what it managed in the same month last year and in September 2018, the difference stood at 44 percent in a similar comparison. The Jeep Compass received a Black Pack edition recently with dark theme exterior and interior updates while the new Limited Plus top-end variant allowed for additional features including panoramic sunroof.
However, the long sought after Trailhawk variant has not been made available yet and Jeep may introduce it before the end of this year with a new nine-speed automatic transmission to even things up in sales. Jeep appears to be planning for a compact SUV as well as a three-row UV in the near future for India, and they could be positioned in competitive price range.
The company cannot just rely on a single product to enhance its sales aspirations on a longer term, and thus new vehicles are needed in the immediate future. Although a new generation Wrangler has already been spied testing locally, it does not ensure big volumes as the Compass.
The Renegade, smallest Jeep SUV on sale elsewhere, could also be a viable option but we do not know any concrete plans regarding it yet.