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Fiat’s new model onslaught

Fiat has bold plans for the Indian market and plans to take things to a higher gear. The Italian company plans to introduce five new cars over the next four to five years. Its independent distribution network will also get a much-needed shot in the arm and swell to 120 dealerships by 2013.

autos Updated: Dec 07, 2012 18:10 IST

Fiat has bold plans for the Indian market and plans to take things to a higher gear. The Italian company plans to introduce five new cars over the next four to five years. Its independent distribution network will also get a much-needed shot in the arm and swell to 120 dealerships by 2013.

Fiat’s brand image re-structuring strategy is part of the company’s drive to appeal more to enthusiastic drivers. Its key mantra through this entire re-jig will be to have a greater focus on sporty design and the use of sophisticated technology.

Kicking off the new model onslaught will be an updated Linea saloon and Grande Punto hatchback in 2013. The two cars already received a facelift earlier this year, and the update next year will include cosmetic changes to both with revised front and rear styling, new alloy wheel designs and a thorough re-working of the interiors. This will be followed by the debut of a new Linea in 2014, which, more importantly, will get a new 1.6-litre Multijet diesel engine and a 1.4-litre turbo-petrol. The facelifted Linea, however, will continue to be sold alongside the new Linea and re-badged as the Linea Classic. Incidentally, Ford currently employs a similar strategy with its Fiesta saloon in India. The new Fiesta is sold alongside the previous-gen Fiesta, but under the ‘Classic’ moniker. There will also be a new Grande Punto, which will be launched in India in 2014. The hatchback will be powered by a 1.2-litre petrol and a 1.3-litre diesel engine.

Lastly, an all-new B-segment compact utility vehicle shared with the Fiat-owned Chrysler group is also on the cards. This all-new platform will essentially replace the architecture used under the Grande Punto hatch, and will be engineered for sale in both Europe and the US, with it debuting in India by mid-2014. This compact utility vehicle will be powered by a 1.4-litre petrol engine and a 1.3-litre Multijet diesel.

Currently, Fiat has 11 platforms that form the underpinning of all its cars sold globally. However, in an attempt to conform to a stricter budget, the company plans on more than halving that amount to five platforms.