Fiat India mulling to expand its 500 range in the country with 500L MPV
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The 500 range of the Italian car maker, Fiat, can be termed as legendary with its history dating back to the 1936 when the original Fiat 500 was introduced, following to the Topolino and now the impending launch for 2013. It is believed that the new car from Fiat will be an extended model of 500L whose idea is conceived from the success of Ertiga. Analysts believe that the upcoming model will square off against the source of its conception itself.
Since the Italian auto maker is present in the Indian auto market, it has not been able to pull the masses and gain popularity as well as recognition that it deserves. During May 2012, the auto giant announced fallout with its marketing partner, Tata Motors regarding the issues of low sales. Thereafter the Italian brand decided to go solo with a target to open 75 new dealerships by the end of current financial year. It has already opened three dealerships in the country. At present, Fiat’s focus floats around increasing its dealership network in the country after which it is speculated that the car maker will launch several new models in the country, including a Multi Purpose vehicle (MPV) and a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV).
With this bold move to operate individually in India and consolidating its market presence, the car maker has hinted towards playing bullish in the Indian industry. Off late, the company has realised that the key to be a successful brand in India, it needs to timely update the existing models in the portfolio with a steady in-flow of new launches. Fiat already manufactures and channels two great cars in the country including Linea sedan and Punto hatchback. Both of these cars received a minor facelift and were introduced at the Indian shores in the beginning of 2012.
Fiat is planning to use the popularity of its 500 range by launching several new products based on the same platform. The next step towards this direction by the Italian auto maker happens to be the launch of 500X compact SUV, through which the company is aiming at a decent share in the fastest growing SUV segment of the Indian industry. Another product in this line-up is the full-sized model of the existing 500L, which will boasts of a seating capacity for seven adults. The idea to launch this vehicle was triggered by the success of the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga. Presently, the car maker is engaged in the development of the proposed model and will come up with its launch somewhere in 2014.
Analysts believe that the upcoming car will be designed on the modified platform of Punto. The car, in all possibilities, is expected to be powered by a 1.3 litre MultiJet II diesel powertrain, which can churn out a maximum power of 90 bhp. The new 500L is anticipated to be placed in a priced bracket of Rs. 7-9 lacs, which will enable it to compete with the likes of Renault Duster and Maruti Suzuki Ertiga. However, it remains to be seen if the car maker will be able to leverage on the past success of its 500 brand to revive its sales in the country.
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