‘Com­pass will Al­lows Us to be a Rel­e­vant Player’

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit -

The Jeep brand, which en­tered In­dia a year ago, wants to make deeper in­roads in the mar­ket with its new­est of­fer­ing, the lo­cally man­u­fac­tured Com­pass SUV. The In­dia launch of the ve­hi­cle will also ac­cel­er­ate glob­al­i­sa­tion of the Jeep brand, Paul Alcala, chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer, Asia-Pa­cific (ex­clud­ing China), Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) tells Ke­tan Thakkar. Edited ex­cerpts:

On Mak­ing Jeep in In­dia Like any com­pany we had our own vol­ume as­pi­ra­tions and in or­der to meet those global vol­umes as­pi­ra­tions, we had to pro­duce it in some of the largest mar­kets in the world. In In­dia, with high im­port du­ties, we would not have been able to sell it in sig­nif­i­cant vol­umes. So, when we looked at our plan we knew the only way to have a sig­nif­i­cant mar­ket share in China, In­dia or Brazil is by pro­duc­ing lo­cally. The Com­pass is the lat­est ve­hi­cle in the Jeep world. It is not an accident that we are start­ing here in In­dia with this ve­hi­cle; it is not the low­est priced Jeep; it is not the high­est priced Jeep. This is a brand new ve­hi­cle. We wanted the best a Jeep could offer to In­dia. Our fo­cus right now is to see how to make this ve­hi­cle a suc­cess. In par­al­lel, we are work­ing on sev­eral things. We will talk about it once we have en­sured the Com­pass is a suc­cess.

On lo­cal­i­sa­tion plans We have a lo­cal­i­sa­tion level of 65% in In­dia (on the Com­pass); we are go­ing to scale it up fur­ther. We have lo­calised one of our engines (the diesel en­gine), we will be lo­cal­is­ing one of our trans­mis­sions at the be­gin­ning of 2019 and then we have some elec­tronic com­po­nents.

On ex­pec­ta­tions on the first In­dia-made Jeep We have had 5,000 book­ings, and peo­ple didn’t even know the price. So I am cu­ri­ous to see what is go­ing to hap­pen in the next two or three days now that we have an­nounced the price. I am sure there will be a great re­cep­tion. We are go­ing to be in full pro­duc­tion in 30-45 days. Are we go­ing to meet all the de­mand? I hope not. How­ever, we will be at a pro­duc­tion level which will be suf­fi­cient for the mar­ket place.

On be­ing a rel­e­vant player in the Indian mar­ket We know his­tor­i­cally we have not been a rel­e­vant player. We want to be a rele- vant player in mar­kets where we sell Jeep. Three years ago, when the team de­cided to do the Jeep Com­pass for In­dia, we talked about pric­ing. Com­pass is a Jeep; it is not cheap, it will never be. With the pric­ing, we think we have got a very com­pet­i­tive po­si­tion and that will al­low us to be a rel­e­vant player in the seg­ment. In Brazil, we sell both the Com­pass and Rene­gade — they are get­ting a quar­ter of the mar­ket seg­ment.

I am not say­ing that our tar­get in In­dia is higher or lower than 25%, but we want to have a mar­ket share which is rel­e­vant. We want to stay hum­ble, we want to win this mar­ket, we are re-do­ing the net­work, re-do­ing the cus­tomer ser­vice. Give us about 6-12 months, then we will talk about vol­umes and the mar­ket share.

PAUL ALCALA COO, A-Pac, Fiat Chrysler We have a lo­cal­i­sa­tion level of 65% in In­dia (on the Com­pass). Weare go­ing to scale it up fur­ther. We will be lo­cal­is­ing one of our trans­mis­sions at the be­gin­ning of 2019

Made in In­dia for the world; could there be a per­cep­tion issue? The Jeep Com­pass made in In­dia is the same as the Com­pass made in any other part of the world. The Indian buyer will get 99% the same Jeep as it is in evolved mar­kets around the world. If you were to fol­low this ve­hi­cle around pro­duc­tion process, there is no dif­fer­ence in the ve­hi­cle sold in In­dia than any other mar­ket.

COM­PANY PHOTO

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