The much hyped two-door lifestyle model from Fiat, the Fiat 500, will soon be on Indian roads. The car, is to be launched in India this year in line with the Italian car maker’s aggressive push at making India a potential market.
The Fiat 500 small car will be imported to India as a completely built unit, as an image building exercise for the car maker in the country. The Fiat 500 as a mass market product in India, considering that it will cost more than much larger cars in India, like the Skoda Octavia or Honda Civic. The Fiat 500 will be a flagship model for the company - Fiat’s image has not really recovered in India after their initial hiccups in the late 1990s. Their alliance with Tata Motors in India has taken care of the negativity somewhat, but customers are still nervous about going in for a Fiat. A high end, iconic model (for India) like the Fiat 500 should go some way in restroing Fiat’s credibility in India.
Expected to sport a price tag of Rs 15 lakh, the Fiat 500 is likely to find its clientele among the celebrities, youth and auto enthusiasts.
The Fiat 500 has three four-cylinder engines - a 1400 cc 100 bhp petrol, a 1200cc 69 bhp petrol, and a 1248cc, 75 bhp multijet diesel engine already in India on the diesel Suzuki Swift. The car is 3.55 metres in length, but features 7 airbags including a knee-airbag and comes with a five star rating in EuroNCAP tests.
Besides the Fiat 500, the company has also lined up a few other models that would follow. The launch of Fiat 500 is being positioned in such a way that it would herald the arrival of the other new models such as Bravo and most importantly the Linea.
The Fiat Linea is a mid-size sedan Linea which would debut in September 2008. The Linea is expected to come up with 70 per cent local content, and company sources said that Fiat’s successful 1.3 multi-jet engines with 95 bhp will be used in Linea. Yet another model Grande Punto will follow he Linea and would get set for a December launch. The Fiat Bravo too is expected soon in India.
Fiat’s largest selling model in India currently is the Palio which is available in seven versions. According to the company, Palio sells around 600 units a month. This, significantly, means is that the company sells all that it makes.