Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said it would spend US$250m to grow in India with the launch of four new Jeep sport utility vehicles (SUVs) over the next two years.

The investment will be made to manufacture locally a mid size, three row SUV, assemble the Jeep Wrangler and Grand Cherokee and launch a new version of the Compass, FCA said in a statement cited by Reuters.

FCA currently has less than a 1% share of India's passenger vehicle market. Adding new vehicles to its model line is expected to help the automaker increase local sourcing of components, achieve better economies of scale, reduce costs and boost sales.

"Our new investment of $250m will give us a competitive edge in multiple segments," Partha Datta, FCA India managing director said in the statement, adding it was determined to increase locally made components in its vehicles.

The investment came at a time when automakers globally had been battered by the pandemic, and automakers in India had been further stung with the domestic market slowing down even ahead of that in 2019.

Honda Motor has been forced to shutter one of its two Indian plants and General Motors last month stopped producing cars there for export after ceasing domestic sales in 2017.

But India has also seen the entry of new automakers over the last couple of years including Kia and SAIC Motor, Reuters mpted.

FCA would produce and assemble the new SUVs at its car plant in western India which it owns jointly with Tata Motors.

FCA's three-row SUV is expected to compete with Ford Motor's Endeavour and Toyota Motor's Fortuner SUVs.

The latest round takes FCA's total investment in India to over $700m, including $150m in a new global tech centre.