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Tata to launch Fiat cars soon

Fiat Auto and domestic car giant Tata Motors will soon jointly launch the Fiat Grand Punto and Linea models in India, reports Deepak Joshi.

autos Updated: Oct 04, 2007 21:24 IST
Deepak Joshi

Italian automobile major Fiat Auto and domestic car giant Tata Motors will soon jointly launch the Fiat Grand Punto and Linea models in India.

The cars will be sold through the Fiat and Tata dealer networks.

"Fiat Punto and Fiat Linea are planned to be launched soon. Fiat will unveil several products during the Auto Expo next year to test the market," Rajv Dubey, president, passenger car business of Tata Motors said on Thursday.

Market sources indicated that the Grand Punto, a premium hatchback, is expected to be launched early 2008 and would compete with the Swift diesel, Getz CRDi and Indica. The Fiat Linea is a sedan targeted at the premium market segment.

Tata Motors and Fiat Auto have formed a joint venture in India to manufacture passenger cars, engines and transmissions for the domestic and overseas market. Tata Motors also has an agreement with Fiat to build pick-up vehicles in Argentina.

Tata Motors on Thursday also launched a new version of its sports utility vehicle Safari with a price range beginning from Rs 7.33 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). The upgraded Safari is powered by a new-generation 2.2 VTT (variable turbine technology) Dicor engine and comes with added features like express-down power windows and an additional two-year warranty. In 2006-07, Tata Motors sold nearly 16,000 units of the Safari.

Dubey admitted that the automobile industry was in the middle of a slowdown and all car majors, including Tata Motors, have been hit. "If you don't take into account the numbers provided by new launches, the industry growth would have been declining," he said.

With the new Indica expected to hit the market next year, he said some features of existing models could be phased out. "The new Indica will come in the higher-end segment of compact cars. Although it will co-exist with the old Indica, some of the existing trims could be done away as is the practice in the industry," he said.

On developing an all-terrain vehicle for the armed forces, he said the company has the capability, but a project has to be economically viable.