| | Jeep Sub-4 Meter SUV For India (Codename: 515)
The big news, however, is that Jeep is working on a sub-four-metre SUV (Code: 515) specifically for India, although this compact SUV would also find a market in Brazil and Russia. Jeep hasn’t yet given it the green light as the cost targets are proving to be a huge challenge.
A big issue is sourcing a suitable diesel motor, which would have to be under 1.5 litres to avail of the ‘small car’ tax benefits. Fiat’s ubiquitous 1.3 Multijet would be underpowered and, besides, it is likely to be phased out once BS-VI emission norms kick in. A better option is Fiat’s ‘Family B’ engine with capacities ranging from 1.6 to 2.0 litres. This motor powers the Compass and the big advantage is that it will be locally produced as well. It’s possible to downsize a 1.6 Family B motor to 1.5 litres but the 515’s volumes won’t justify the engineering costs. Fiat is still working on ways and means to make the 515 feasible, which, according to company sources, is likely to become a reality if Jeep’s volumes pick up seriously in India.
FCA’s future in India now entirely depends on Jeep and the company is hopeful that a fresh start with a fresh brand will finally get rid of the baggage that has dogged this company for the past 20 years.