Here's How Jeep Has Pulled All the Stops with the Compass SUV
Fiat India invested 280 million USD into the Ranjangaon plant in accommodating the technology and space needed to produce the Jeep Compass.
Jeep Compass. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
Jeep India recently showcased their much anticipated C-segment SUV Compass.One of the most interesting factors about the car is that it is a 'Make in India' product and it's not made just for India. It is, instead, a global product made in India.
Producing a car in India is not exactly a new thing as automakers have been doing it for quite some time now but making it in India for a global market, that's something rare. And Jeep has not stopped there as the company seems to have pulled all the stops with the Compass.
At the unveil held at Fiat's Ranjangaon plant in Maharashtra, we were also taken for a plant tour. There, we could see first-hand the level of attention to detail that the company has given in setting up the facility for the Compass. Although, clicking pictures were not allowed and some of the processes were not shown, understandably so, there was enough to give an idea of just how important the Compass is for Jeep.
To put it into perspective, Fiat India invested 280 million USD into the Ranjangaon plant in accommodating the technology and space needed to produce the Compass.
At the Compass showcase, Kevin Flynn - President and Managing Director, FCA India said: "The local production schedule of the Jeep compass is firmly on track and we are all set to begin local production of the Jeep brand's global SUV by June this year. The Jeep Compass will come with several industry-first features and will set benchmarks in the Indian SUV space."
The Jeep Compass will come with two powertrain options - a 160+ HP, 250 Nm multi-air petrol and the 170+ HP, 350 Nm diesel engine. Both these engines will be BS VI compliant and will come with the option of a 6-speed manual transmission and a 7-speed dual dry clutch technology automatic (DDCT) transmission option.
Kevin Flynn added, "One of the important highlights of the Jeep Compass is that both its export as well as the India models will be identical in terms of build and quality. We will export to International right-hand drive markets from India."
When asked about which markets could Jeep be looking at with the Compass, then James Lyijynen – Chief Program Engineer, Jeep Compass, FCA Global said it could include the likes of UK, Australia, Japan and South Africa.
The project has taken Jeep over 3 years and the car is expected to be launched in August.
The manufacturing plant itself is a state of the art facility.Interestingly, engineers from India were taken to several manufacturing plants in places like Brazil and America to foresee what lies ahead of them. There is also a constant exchange of information between manufacturing plants as to how processes can be made quicker and more efficient, and the setup in Ranjangaon is one of the best in the world.
Jeep has also made sure that a substantial part of the plant is automated for best results and quicker production of models off the line. It's not completely left onto robots, though, as there is human intervention as and when needed to keep things in check. Most of the robotic arms doing the jobs at the body shop also have cameras fitted onto them that scan the assembled parts in real time to keep the build quality at an optimum level.
There is also a state of the art Metrology department that's been set up. Here, panels obtained from the suppliers are put onto a master body, which is loaded with modules and scanners, that gives Jeep a platform to measure the fit and build quality of all the panels individually. It is from here that Jeep is able to assess, monitor and share feedback with suppliers as to how the process can be improved and made more efficient.
Jeep has also introduced a unique door stitching technology, which it claims to be the first one in India, which welds the doors using a laser remotely. This eventually ends up in a precise welding process and also reduces the weight of the door substantially.
The SUV will be manufactured in over 50 trims to meet the requirements of different customers and markets.
The company also announced that the car will come with over 50 active and passive safety features which include the likes of ESC, ABS, Hill Start Assist and adaptive brake lights. A total of six airbags will be fitted inside the cabin with dual-stage passenger airbags.
Sticking true to its off-roader image that comes with every Jeep, the Compass comes loaded with the 4x4 Jeep Active Drive system that's coupled with Select Terrain Traction Management System, which, will help time the car's driving abilities as per the driving mode selected.
Add to that the fact that, as Bill Zheng – Head of Design, FCA APAC said during the unveil, the Jeep Compass has taken design inspiration from an SR-71 Blackboird airplane and the lights take inspiration from Iron man himself!
All of this has certainly made everyone excited for the Compass in India as it will be one of the accessible ways of owning a badge that comes with its own history and legacy, in a very good-looking package.
(The author was on invite for the launch event at Ranjangaon by Jeep India.)
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