After China, the Fiat Group is eyeing another major emerging market to launch its Jeep brand, that of India. The Italian carmaker's Indian arm, Fiat Group Automobiles India Private Limited (FGAIPL), announced on Thursday that the Jeep brand will be introduced in the country towards the end of 2013.
FGAIPL said that first models to go on sale in India will be the classic Wrangler and the latest Grand Cherokee. At launch, the carmaker will distribute the SUVs through a Jeep network of 32 dealers in 25 cities throughout the country.
In the same announcement, the Turin-based company said it will also expand its domestic production to include the new Fiat Linea Classic Edition and the new Fiat Punto Edition.
The Fiat Group currently hold a tiny 0.7 percent share in India, but the carmaker has an ambitious plan to develop its network and introduce nine new models (for both the Fiat and Jeep brands) over the next few years with the goal of increasing its share to around 5 percent of the market.
"Our vision for India will revolve around a three-pronged strategy," stated Fiat-Chrysler Asia Pacific COO and Jeep brand boss, Mike Manley "First, introduction of new vehicles that will soon include the legendary Jeep brand. Second, the expansion of our independent dealer network and, finally, strong marketing initiatives that will continue to improve our awareness and brand perception in the market."
Earlier this year, Fiat reshaped its local partnership with Tata Motors keeping the production part intact but taking over the distribution activities of its cars in India. Fiat said it will have around 120 independent dealers in the country by 2013.
"Initial interest from the investors has proved to be strong. Therefore, we will be able to establish 120 independent dealers by 2013," said Enrico Atanasio, Managing Director of Fiat Group Automobiles India Private Limited.
He continued: "We are optimistic about our prospect for growth in the Indian car market, which grew 12 percent in 2011 and is rapidly becoming one of the major markets in the world. With the launch of the Jeep brand, new Fiat products, an expanding dealer network and upcoming marketing initiatives, we will be in a strong position to capitalize on this growth."