Fiat Chrysler to invest $250 mn in India unit to launch new SUVs

The investment will be made to locally manufacture amid-size, three-row SUV, assemble the Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Cherokee vehicles in the country

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV(FCA) said on Tuesday it will invest $250 million to grow its presence in India with the launch of four newsport-utility vehicles (SUVs) under its Jeep brand the next two years.

The investment will be made to locally manufacture amid-size, three-row SUV, assemble the Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Cherokee vehicles in the country and launch a new version of its Jeep Compass SUV, FCA said in a statement.

FCA currently has less than a 1% share of India’s passengervehicle market. Adding new vehicles to its portfolio is expectedto help the automaker increase local sourcing of components,achieve better economies of scale, reduce costs and boost sales.

"Our new investment of $250 million will give us acompetitive edge in multiple segments," Partha Datta, managing director for FCA India said in the statement, adding that it isdetermined to increase locally-made components in its vehicles.

A boost to Indian automakers

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

Japan’s Honda Motor Co has been forced to shutterone of its two plants in the country, and General Motorslast month stopped producing cars in India for export afterceasing domestic sales in 2017.

India has also seen the entry of new automakers over the last couple of years including South Korea’s Kia Motorsand China’s SAIC Motor Corp.

FCA will produce and assemble the new SUVs at its car plantin western India, which it jointly owns with domestic automaker 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 toover $700 million, including $150 million in a new global techcentre.

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