Jeep is to go on sale in India but volumes will be low for the first few years.
According to Reuters, Fiat Chrysler's Jeep chief executive Mike Manley had previously said initial models to be sold to India would be the Grand Cherokee and Wrangler. This week he saod sales would start slow and would reach 1,500 to 2,000 vehicles in 2017. First sales will be in the end of the second quarter 2016, he said.
Manely said a dealer network for Jeep in India needs to be developed. By the end of this year, he hopes that Jeeps will be sold from 15 to 30 existing Fiat dealerships in the 10 to 15 largest cities.
"The real issue for us is we've got to get the brand established," Manley told Reuters, adding consumers in India are familiar with the Jeep name. He said India is one of the countries where the SUV segment of the auto market is known as "Jeep" in the same way facial tissues are called by the brand Kleenex.
"There are a lot of very low-cost SUVs … so this whole year will be about showing the Indian market what the true SUV is, and what it is capable of."
"We are going to play at a very premium end of the (SUV) segment," said Manley. "Although India always promises 'the market's going to develop,' most off that activity is in price ranges way, way below where we are going to be.
"We will be a very niche play to begin with and then we're going to develop the business from there," Manley said.