Premier Rio face lift spotted in China, may come to India soon

author image CarTrade Editorial Team
Monday 08 April 2013, 11:58 AM

Premier Automobiles Limited (PAL) has been instrumental in launching Rio as the first compact Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) in the Indian automotive arena. However, the Rio has not been able to create quite a stir like the Renault Duster, which sold 6,313 units last month. Reasons for this lacklustre performance by Premier Rio include lack of a proper marketing strategy and unavailability of service outlets. But things may change in the future, with the launch of the Rio face lift in the country.

The current Rio is essentially a rebadged variant of the Zotye T200 that will be showcased during the Shanghai Auto Show later this month. Completely Knocked Down (CKD) kits of this vehicle are imported from China by Premier Automobiles Limited, and a face lift of Rio can be expected in India very soon. Currently three engines are available for the Rio- a 1.2 litre petrol, an old 1.5 litre TUD5 Peugeot IDI diesel power-mill and the 1.3 Fiat Multijet diesel. In the updated Rio, the front grille has been changed and so have the headlamps, which appear more stylish now. Fog lamps have also been changed, and the SUV now sports a Mercedes-Benz M-class type of look from the front. From the inside, rectangular AC vents have been replaced with circular ones. The front fascia has also been revised and looks more appealing now.

Though Premier Automobiles is one of the earliest domestic auto companies in India, it has not been successful in establishing a vast dealership network for its comeback vehicle, the Rio. It manufactured the Premier Padmini up to 2000, after which it exited the passenger car segment for a number of years, until the Rio's launch in 2009. If the company is able to build a dealership network, along with strong after sales, more units of the Rio face lift can be sold, as this compact SUV certainly has the first mover advantage. However, Premier has not given any official word on the launch of the new Rio in the country.

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