While 2013 was a cold year for Fiat, 2014 seems to be a promising one for the Italian company. Fiat did very important things last year, announcing its next 3-year plan for the Indian market along with setting up a wide and independent dealership network across the country. Although when it comes to products, nothing major was launched with the same old Linea and Punto getting minor tweaks, for the nth time. Now that Fiat has made a firm base with its own service outlets, the company is all set to rock 2013 with a slew of launches.
Fiat will launch the Jeep Grand Cherokee in the month of February. This Chrysler product shares its underpinnings with the Mercedes M-Class and will rival it in the Indian market along with rubbing shoulders with the Audi Q7, BMW X5 and Land Rover Discovery 4. The Grand Cherokee comes via the CBU route and will be priced at an expensive Rs. 70 lakhs.
A Jeep targeted solely at off-road enthusiasts in India, the Wrangler isn’t going to set the sales chart on fire in spite of being the most affordable Jeep vehicle in India when it goes on sale next month. The 2-door Sport model comes with a petrol heart only while the 4-door Wrangler Unlimited gets a diesel engine. Prices will start from Rs. 25 lakhs.
The facelifted Fiat Linea will be launched in India, filling in the shoes of the current model which will be discontinued (the Classic will be retained). The updated Linea not only gets minor exterior tweaks but also a new interior which looks transformed. The biggest news though is the inclusion of a 1.6-litre Multijet diesel engine which produces 105 BHP of power and a splendid 320 Nm of torque. The 2014 Fiat Linea will be launched in February/March.
Fiat will launch the Punto Evo in April which will be a thorough facelift for the car. Although globally the Punto is being axed for the 5-door Panda (based on the Punto platform), in India, Fiat plans to sell the Punto for at least another 3 years. Other than the exterior and interior changes, the Punto facelift could also get new engines including the 1.3-litre Multijet 2 diesel engine and T-Jet petrol engine (there is no confirmation on the powertrain upgrade).
SUVs work well in India but crossovers made by using hatchbacks doesn’t seem that interesting to people in the sub-continent. Still Fiat plans to launch the Punto Cross which is nothing but a similar exercise as Volkswagen has done with the Cross Polo and Skoda did with the Fabia Scout. The launch will happen in May with prices starting at Rs. 9 lakhs.
Abarth will make its Indian foray with the launch of the Punto Abarth. While details about the engine remain a mystery (whether Fiat will go the long haul and give us the same international specifications in India), Fiat is going to locally assemble the car for an aggressive price which will be upwards of Rs. 12 lakhs. The launch will happen in June.
Fiat is also considering the Panda for India. Rumours suggest the car is already in India and customer clinics are being undertaken by the marketing team. The Panda could be launched in India by the end of the year but there is still no concrete decision of its launch as aggressive localisation is imperative to price it competitively.
So Fiat does plan to offer new products in multiple segments which should help them boost market share and post good volumes from the current less than 1000 units a month sales.