Indian Autos blog

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Fiat's long term plans and models

The theme at the moment and for a long time to come is small cars. And Fiat don't want to be left out of consideration. Here are Fiat's new models that will be available in developing markets like China, South America and India. The new small car is likely to be called Uno and no, it does not look boxy or boring. The second model is a crossover SUV that will pit against the Captiva, CRV and the possibly the next-gen Tata Safari when its out on the market.

The B Compact or Uno is based on the Grande Punto platform and will be marketed as a modern family car with affordable Italian style. Internationally, it will be available in 3 and 5 door versions and will be positioned to be an alternate buy for the Grande Punto. Expect the 5 door version here in India once it is launched.

The Fiat C X-Over is a five-door mid size crossover which will be about 4.5m long and will come with both FWD and 4WD. Based on the Bravo platform, the C X-Over will be Fiat's first candidate to contest in the SUV race in India. It will cost anywhere in the range of 15 to 20 lakh rupees and will attract upmarket SUV buyers.

For a company that's got everything to fight for, a skew of new models helps in a big way. Fiat's bank balance short falls can be replenished by adopting Maruti's strategy of offering World class cars in India which they are attempting to do with the forthcoming 500, Grande Punto and Linea. Fiat's woes seem perennial on this side of the planet, and the Multijet Palio is its latest attempt to pull itself out of the terrible mess it has gotten into. Tata's service network maybe vast but these International models need special care and attention unlike the majority of Tata cars, which are designed to be serviced almost by any mechanic with the basic know-how skills.

The situation seems right, the attitude is fresh and lets hope their future models will take Fiat to the position it occupies elsewhere abroad.