Grand Jeep entry: Then why not Subaru?
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Italy, wholly owns a subsidiary named Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US, LLC. In 2017, they had launched their Jeep Compass model in India. In effect, the model has been specifically tailor made for Indian consumers.
Jeep Production Facility:
Fiat has an investment to the tune of $280 million in its production facility in Ranjangaon; In detail, the plant is located between Kukadi and Bhima Rivers in the outskirts of Pune in Maharashtra. This plant rolls out right hand drive vehicles and is one among the four manufacturing units of FCA globally; Furthermore, the Ranjangaon plant is a joint venture between FCA and Tata Motors.
By and large Jeep Compass is an instant hit among the Indian automobile lovers. Particularly, Fiat played into the affordability aspect of product marketing. Within one year of operations, the sales had touch 25,000 units. Today, Compass is a major competitor in India’s growing Sports Utility Vehicle segment. In general, Fiat targets the upper middle class consumers.
On the contrary, Subaru is a Japanese automobile brand owned by Japanese transportation conglomerate Subaru Corporation. In the West, the brand is popular among a set of consumers. On the whole, they love the specific Subaru characteristics viz. drive train engine, all wheel drive, rough terrain drive, affordable sports car offerings. Subaru Impreza is a familiar name in the compact family car segment.
Presence in India:
Ironically, Subaru has no presence in India. To point out, their eclipse in the Indian market is really surprising considering their brand value. Truly speaking, people have a gradual awareness about the brand.
In the long run, a quality branding strategy specifically for India is enough to tap the Indian market. In addition, Subaru can opt for a joint venture production facility in India.
Understanding the design sensitivities, pricing strategy, Indian consumers demand, certain compromises in design will help in a successful relaunch. On the positive side, it has all the features to rival the competition in the Indian market.
Shift to electric Mobility:
A Bloomberg report says that Subaru is following a wait and watch policy in relation to electric mobility R&D. They do not want to pitch into a sector that has a characteristic cut throat competition. The company has a hybrid version, Crosstrek SUV, that they plan to launch in the end of 2018.
With the Indian automobile market in future shifting to electric mobility, Subaru can be an early starter in the revolution. Their decades of ‘vanaprastha’ from India has to end. Subaru can come back to the Indian market with a rejuvenated brand identity.
Image courtesy: www.subaru.com