Fiat in the race for replacing Ambassador cabs in Kolkata

Monday 24 November 2014, 11:45 AM by

Fiat is the latest automobile manufacturer after Tata Motors and Maruti Suzuki to join the race in taxi race in Kolkata. Incidentally, the taxi segment in the City of joy was run by Hindustan Motors’ Ambassador. However, the production of this legendary car was stopped sometime back, making it necessary to find a replacement for the taxi battalion in Kolkata. Maruti was the first one to offer a replacement followed by Tata Motors. Now, a third contender has emerged in the form of Fiat.

Hindustan Motors, which used to produce the Ambassador at the Uttarpara facility in the district of Hooghly in West Bengal, has suspended the process. This has brought the curtains on the monopoly of Ambassadors in the taxi segments, which was prevalent for several decades. In the meantime, automobile companies like Tata Motors and Maruti Suzuki have started running their exclusive models for grabbing a hold of the taxi market.

Fiat in the race for replacing Ambassador cabs in Kolkata |
Fiat in the race for replacing Ambassador cabs in Kolkata

Fiat is planning to launch an especially stripped-down version of its mid-sized sedan, Linea for this purpose. Nagesh Basavanhalli, the president and managing director of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles India was present in Kolkata on the occasion of the launch of its MUV Avventura. He said, “We hope to get the approval for this from West Bengal soon. We have already started to sell the model in the taxi market of Mumbai and Delhi.” Sanjay Patodia, the managing director of Austin, a leading car dealership company in the city that now deals Fiat cars, said, “Maruti’s Dzire and Tata Motors’ Indigo has already started to take advantage of Ambassador's absence. The state transport department recently announced to give permit to 3,000 new taxis. I think, Fiat Linea, would also be potential replacement in this segment.”

Linea has a price tag of seven lakhs INR, while the stripped-down model will be of the price range of 6.22 lakhs INR, whereas Ambassador was priced at 5.6 lakhs INR. Tata Motors had launched a non-power steering, non-AC, Euro-IV Tata Indigo model at 5 lakhs INR price range last year. Also, Maruti had launched a stripped-down Dzire sometime further back. Fiat will definitely increase the competition of filling in the void created by the suspension of the production of Ambassador.

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