An iconic brand with an existing fan base in India, the Jeep brand makes its entry into India with some premium products.
It’s a well-known fact that the Jeep brand commands a fair amount of fan following in our country. Having made its name as a go-anywhere vehicle used in WWII, the Jeep was a firm favourite of many royals and dignitaries during the post-Independence era in our country. With their ability to tackle bad or non-existent roads and with our limited infrastructure at that time, it was the ideal vehicle to travel in, especially if one was traversing rural areas.
So, to bring some of the royal connect back, as the brand finally made its entry into India after a couple of years of will they, won’t they moves, Jeep finally made its entry into India at an event held at the grand Umaid Bhawan Palace. However, unlike the bare basics Jeeps of the era gone by, the new range of products being launched varies between modern-yet-utilitarian with the Wrangler Unlimited, and dripping-in-luxury with the Grand Cherokee. The one unique vehicle in the range is the hot-rod SRT version of the Grand Cherokee, which is aimed at customers looking for sports car performance from their SUV.
Known for its go-anywhere capability, the four-door Wrangler Unlimited will be offered in India in only one trim, powered by a 2.8-litre four-cylinder diesel engine producing 197bhp and 460Nm of torque. The engine is paired with only one transmission option, a five-speed automatic, along with a removable hardtop and a soft top as standard. On the other end of the spectrum is the Grand Cherokee, which is offered in two trims – Summit and Limited – with the two trims offered with varying levels of equipment. Both are, however, powered by the same 3-litre V6 turbodiesel engine that produces 240bhp and 570Nm of torque and the only available transmission is an eight-speed automatic. Both these will rival key products from established brands such as the Audi Q7, BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE.
The flagship vehicle of the range is the Grand Cherokee SRT which features American style brawn with its 6.4-litre naturally aspirated Hemi V8 engine offering 469bhp and 624Nm of torque. This engine too is paired with an eight-speed automatic and offers sizzling performance with the 0-100 mark coming up in just five seconds. However, the pricing of the vehicles by the brand has certainly been kept on the higher side, with the Wrangler Unlimited priced at Rs. 71.59 lakhs, the Grand Cherokee Limited costing Rs. 93.64 lakhs and the Grand Cherokee Summit costing Rs. 1.03 crores. The range-topping SRT model comes in for fractionally more at Rs. 1.12 crores (all prices are Ex-showroom, Delhi).
The Jeep brand aims to have 10 dealerships spread across the country by the end of this year, with the first dealership in Ahmedabad already commencing operations. And, as the Jeep brand celebrates its 75th year of operation, the first challenge before the management of the Indian arm will be to convince customers that their products command the premium that they are priced at. And despite the brand recognition and recall in India, that is going to be a tough task for the brand and its executives dealing with value conscious Indian customers.