2014 is going to be quite an eventful year for Fiat as it will be the one that the company expects to turn around its fortunes in India. It plans on bringing facelifted models of the Linea and Punto soon but the more interesting bits will be the launch of cars from its performance brand, Abarth. The first launch will be the Fiat 500 Abarth, which will initially come to the country via the CBU route but would later on assembled in the country to give it a pricing advantage over its competition.
“We plan to launch the Fiat 500 Abarth later this year in India. Initially we would import the car as a completely built unit (CBU) but later on we plan to locally assemble it at our Ranjangaon plant,” said Nagesh Basavanhalli, Managing Director, Fiat India while unveiling the car at the 2014 Indian Auto Expo. The car will go head on with the likes of Mini from BMW and will not be aimed as a volume generating car, rather Fiat hopes that the car will improve the image of the company in India, which has taken a beating as it has only been offering two cars in the country till now.
It is expected to be priced at about Rs. 40 Lakh when launched initially, the price is expected to go down to at least Rs. 30 Lakh once local assembly starts.
The 500 Abarth is a revised Fiat 500 with a 1.4 litre T-Jet motor under the hood that is good enough for a maximum power of 160 BHP and a peak torque of 206 NM. It goes from 0-100 kmph in 7.9 seconds and goes on to hit a top speed of 205 kmph. The car gets a slew of functionalities and additions that the regular Fiat 500 misses out on. You get to choose between 16-inch or 17 inch alloys, gas-discharged headlights and sunroof are on offer to make your ride way more stylish. Cross drilled brake discs on all four wheels coupled with 7 airbags, ABS and EBD take charge of the safety department.
The twin exhausts will be producing a pretty sweet note in our opinion and the sporty seats which team up with a high end audio system will add to the drive experience. Fiat plans on having 5 models in its lineup by end of 2014 and 9 models by 2016. The Jeep brand is still being contemplated due to fluctuations in the Indian currency. Fiat has now strengthened its dealer network, has launches lined up with high end cars coming in and is looking positive in its approach.
Can it taste the success it once enjoyed in the Indian market? Let us wait and watch.