Jeep India is gearing up to launch its seven-seat Compass-based SUV, Meridian, in the Indian market later this month. Bookings opened this week for the D segment vehicle that will take on the likes of the Toyota Fortuner and MG Gloster. Deliveries are expected to commence by end-June.
“We are ready to serve our customers, ramp up production to ensure availability of the Meridian for our customers, and therefore, cater to the demand,” said Nipiun J Mahajan, Head of Jeep Brand India.
The production for the Meridian has kicked off at Jeep's manufacturing plant in Ranjangaon near Pune, and the American brand (now part of Stellantis) says it has the capability of ramping up production and will take all necessary measures to overcome supply chain woes.
But Mahajan sounded a word of caution. While we are quite prepared in terms of the supply chain, things are moving in a very dynamic fashion."
The Toyota Fortuner which went home to 19,230 buyers in FY22 holds a dominating position in the segment where the Gloster is a distant second at 2,659 units. The petrol-only Skoda Kodiaq, which was reintroduced in the market in January this year in a refreshed avatar, is already sold out for CY22, with limited numbers allocated for India.
“The market in this segment is pretty modest, and there has not been too much stability in the segment in terms of products as there aren’t too many options. Therefore, it is poised to grow,” Mahajan said.
“Customers are looking for new products, and when we launch them, we have a fair chance of appealing to them. The Meridian is not run-of-the-mill and scores high on the design, comfort, features like a panoramic sunroof, as well as its off-road capabilities,” he added.
Mahajan said he wasn’t concerned about buyers being put off due to the Jeep’s premium pricing over similar-sized competitor products. The Indian customer, he reiterated, has a strong customer association with the Jeep brand. “Our customers vouch for the brand, and they have developed communities to do activities together. It doesn’t come just like that. Therefore, customers have accepted the brand very well, as well as the product for the price, case in point the refreshed Compass,” he mentioned.
“A large number of customers who upgrade from B- and C-segment vehicles, are seen upgrading to the Jeep brand. The D-segment Meridian is expected to gain customers from a lot of different segments, including those from sedans to B- (compact SUV) and C-SUV (midsize SUV) segments,” he signed off.
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