ST. PETERSBURG – Jeep is expanding its product offerings in Russia in a bid to expand its tiny but growing share of the market.
In 2020 FCA plans to introduce at least three new Jeep models in the Russian market: an updated Wrangler and Compass, and the Gladiator pickup truck. Sales of the latter likely will launch near year’s end.
The Fiat Chrysler brand sees a growth opportunity created in part by General Motors’ and Ford’s scaling-back of their Russian business. Both continue to sell cars in the country but have abandoned manufacturing operations.
Besides the current-generation Wrangler and Compass, Jeep also offers the Renegade, Cherokee, Grand Cherokee and Grand Cherokee SRT. Prices range from RR2.6 million ($42,000) to RR 5.73 million ($92,000).
Jeep sales in Russia peaked in 2014 at 8,221 units but plunged 75% to 2,057 in 2015 and then another 38.3% to only 1,269 in 2016, according to Wards Intelligence data. Deliveries were flat at 1,274 units in 2017 but jumped 39.2% to 1,773 in 2018 and were up 17% at 1,653 for the first 11 months of 2019.
FCA attributes its recovery in Russia over the past two years to the updating of its product range. The Compass, Wrangler, Cherokee and 707-hp Grand Cherokee Trackhawk are recent additions to the lineup. The automaker also is banking on the Jeep brand’s popularity in Russia dating back to its introduction to Russia following the dissolution of the USSR in 1991.
Jeep’s fortunes also have risen with the recovery of the Russian economy, although the government is introducing a new fee expected to raise vehicle prices.
In addition to Jeep, FCA plans to expand the Chrysler and Alfa Romeo brands in the world’s ninth most populous nation. But the lingering effects of the economic crisis in the middle of the last decade forced the automaker to phase out sales of the Fiat brand in 2017.