It took about 23 months for the American carmaker, Jeep, to establish their setup in Ranjangaon for the first locally produced model, the Compass. After the recent announcement of rolling out the first Jeep Compass SUV, bookings for the car also commenced at a token amount of Rs 50,000. And now, the Compass is all set for its official introduction which will happen on 31st July. There are a number of factors that need to be considered by Jeep India as the Compass is their first locally made product which would have close to 70 percent localisation. Hence, it is critical for them to price it right as there's no other model right now to bring in revenues. The Wrangler and the Grand Cherokee's retail price disappointed a number of potential buyers, however, being CBUs and attracting more than twice the import duty on such cars in India, price had to be high on these direct imports so there's nothing wrong Jeep did there. But, with the Compass, Jeep India may have a winner on their hands provided they price it right. Here is what the expected price of the Jeep Compass could be, its features and the specifications.
It's an established fact that India is a price-sensitive market and hence it is imperative for the Compass to be priced right. When local production and export to other right-hand drive markets are taken into account, it has to have a competitive price tag, given the scale of production. The three variants on offer include Sport, Longitude and Limited with two engine as well as gearbox options. The automatic transmission though will be available with the petrol versions for now, while the diesel ones will get it later.
The prices that were expected before the implementation of Goods and Services Tax or GST were speculated to be between Rs 18 lakh and Rs 22 lakh, ex-showroom, Delhi. Now with the new tax structure bringing down the tax from almost 55 percent to 43 percent, this price is expected to be even lower. The Jeep Compass could start from Rs 15 lakh and go up to Rs 19.50 lakh, ex-showroom. Considering the level of equipment Jeep offers on the Compass, the SUV could also be priced under Rs 15 lakh for a limited time, making it a value-for-money proposition. The company, however, is yet to make nay comments on the pricing of the Compass.
There are host of features on the Jeep Compass, wherein the Limited trim of the SUV will be the top-end version while the Longitude and the Sport will be offered with lesser equipment. What the Limited variant would offer is a dual zone climate control system, a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system that supports Apple CarPlay as well as Android Auto with steering mounted controls for phone as well as audio. In addition to the steering mounted controls for the infotainment system, switches for cruise control would also be mounted on the steering wheel. Other features on the Jeep Compass Limited would include Ski Grey McKinley leather upholstery with Ruby red stitching, electronic parking brake and a number of bottle holders in the doors as well as the centre console.
Safety is an aspect that has been taken seriously for the Jeep Compass which will be offered with Hill Start Assist, Traction control, four channel ABS (Anti-lock Braking System), ESC (Electronic Stability Control), Panic Brake Assist, Hydraulic Boost Failure Compensation and Electronic Roll Mitigation. Although all the 50 plus safety features would understandably be available only on the top-end Limited trim, the lower versions would also get a decent set of safety technology.
What the Jeep Compass misses out on
While the Jeep Compass has a lot of safety as well as convenience features, it does miss out on some of the features that the global-spec Compass gets and the India version won't. These include the absence of a sunroof, the 8.7-inch UConnect touchscreen infotainment system, optional dual-tone roof and an auto-dimming rear view mirror. Considering that it is being targetted for the premium SUV segment, such additions would have been better.
Engine and Gearbox options
There will be a 1.4-litre Multiair petrol engine and a 2.0-litre Multijet II diesel engine which would be offered with a manual as well as an automatic transmission. According to a dealership in Delhi, the Compass would first be available with the petrol engine mated to a 7-speed automatic unit while the diesel engine would be paired to a 6-speed manual. At a later stage, Jeep India will bring in a Compass diesel automatic, however, it has not yet been confirmed by the dealer yet. The petrol engine would also be available with a manual transmission as well.
The petrol engine produces 161 hp of power and 250 Nm of torque while the diesel engine generates 172 hp of power and 350 Nm of torque. The diesel would also be available with an all-wheel-drive system which will have different terrain modes, Sand, Snow, Mud, Auto and 4WD Lock.
The Compass, if priced as a value-for-money proposition would not only gain popularity quickly in the Indian car market, it would also mean that Jeep would have to shoulder a lot of responsibility. Since a popular product from any carmaker also requires a good dealership network as well as affordable aftersales, FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) or Jeep would have to match its competitors in the market with spare parts and consumable priced competitively and both of these haven't been qualities associated with Fiat up till now in India. Although the road ahead for Jeep India is a challenging one, if planned in the right way, the Compass could pave way for more locally made Jeep cars in India, even the Renegade, which could take on the compact SUVs.