Fiat India has kept the 500 Abarth launch on hold due to increase in excise duty and also the resignation of Fiat India president and managing director, Nagesh Basavanhalli.

2014 Fiat 500 Abarth Road Test
The Fiat 500 Abarth is a true performance hatch for which you have to wait a little more

You read it first on MotorBeam. With recent excise duty concession rollback, some manufacturers are in dilemma whether to launch new products or wait for the government to announce the next budget. Furthermore, the weakening Rupee is making it difficult to price the CBU and CKD imports reasonably. Consequently, Fiat has delayed the introduction of Jeep brand in India, which was supposed to be launched early last year. Now the Italian brand has also decided to put the Fiat 500 Abarth launch on hold for the moment. The performance hatchback was intended to launch in end 2014.

In December 2014, Fiat India president and managing director Nagesh Basavanhalli resigned and that might be another reason for the delay. Fiat has been struggling hard to make a mark in the crowded Indian car market. In 2014, Fiat launched the facelifted Linea, Punto Evo and Avventura in India and despite a reworked portfolio they are selling limited volume. However, the Italian carmaker is focused on building the brand with a slew of launches planned for this year. It’s just a matter of luck and time for a market like ours, where a product strikes the right chords for the buyers and lifts the fortunes of the company and same might happen with Fiat in the coming years.

The Fiat 500 Abarth is a pure delight for enthusiasts. Not only does it looks fantastic with its retro design but also performs like nothing else in this segment. Powering the little monster is a 1.4-litre MultiAir turbocharged petrol engine that churns out 160 BHP of maximum power at 5500 RPM and 230 Nm of peak torque at 2500 RPM, mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox. We took the performance hatchback for a spin last year and you can read our first impressions of this little bomb HERE. Expect Fiat to launch the 500 Abarth in the second half of this year priced upwards of Rs. 25 lakhs.

2014 Fiat 500 Abarth Test Drive
The Fiat 500 Abarth is expected to be launched later this year