The extensive difference between petrol and diesel prices has been slowly dwindling after the government lifted the subsidy off diesel and prices for the fuel have been steadily rising since late 2013. This in turn has shifted the market’s focus on petrol powered vehicles once again with sales numbers witnessing growth. Manufacturers have witnessed this change as well and Fiat too acknowledged the same stating that the automaker saw the sales for petrol vehicles rise by three-fold, when compared to its diesel counterparts.
However, despite the attention towards petrol models, Fiat still uses the old 1.2-litre and 1.4-litre FIRE engines on its vehicles that are boring, sluggish and almost a decade old. In comparison, the Punto sold across Europe uses Fiat’s MultiAir technology that not only offers better performance but also more fuel efficiency, reliability and less carbon emissions. The FIRE engines on the other hand are too old and do not sell well either and it is their diesel counterparts that rake in majority of the sales.
Essentially, the MultiAir technology allows customised operation of the electro-hydraulic valve that optimises power output and fuel efficiency, while reducing carbon emissions. Fiat has a range of small capacity engines in Europe that feature MultiAir technology and bringing the same to the Indian lineup would be necessary. Internationally, Fiat uses the 1.4-litre petrol and the 875cc twin-cylinder TwinAir motor that comes with MultiAir technology with the former also being the recipient of the ‘Best new engine of the year’ award in 2010.
We do believe that the 875cc twin-cylinder TwinAir motor is best suited for India and produces 85 BHP of power and 145 Nm of torque and is above par with the competition in the segment. Not only is the engine powerful, but is also frugal and lightweight compared to the 1.2-litre 4-cylinder unit. Moreover, considering the power output, the engine could replace the 1.4-litre petrol unit on the Punto as well, thereby helping Fiat to price the hatchback more effectively. Being a lightweight motor it also makes the Punto less nose-heavy, so expect even better driving dynamics.
While Fiat never denied bringing MultiAir technology to India in the past, it did not provide a specific timeline for launch either. However with the market preference changing once again, it only seems appropriate to bring in new technologies and products to the country. Fiat was going through a massive restructuring phase in the past years, but the company has now set its focus on launching new products in India. It’s about time that we too received the MultiAir technology from the Italian giant. Fiat also has the option of borrowing Tata’s Revotron mill for its cars.