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Fiat igniting recast plan based on new launches

26-April-2004
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Fiat igniting recast plan based on new launches

Fiat India is putting in place a restructuring plan to become a volume player through new launches. The Italian major, in an aggressive mode, is expected to price 1.2 litre (petrol) Petra around Rs 5 lakh.

The diesel version of the sedan Petra will sport a 1.9 litre engine and will be priced a little higher than the petrol model, sources said. The Petra will be pitched against the Tata Indigo.

The company is looking at launching the hatchback Panda in the compact car segment later.

As part of a global branding exercise, the company decided to launch the Petra brand in India and discontinue the Siena, which did not take off in the market. Mid-segment car Siena sales slipped to 733 units during the 12-month period ended March 2004, from 2,619 units recorded in the corresponding period previous year. Sales of the compact car Palio nosedived to 9,695 units during April-March from a huge 23,317 units previous year.

“We will be aggressive in the market and launch the cars at an attractive price to become a volume player”, company sources said, adding “India is one of the first countries to establish the new branding exercise”.

The Petra has been developed on the 178 platform, on which the Palio and Siena have come up. It will be powered by the same 1.2 litre petrol engine which the Palio also sports. The 1.9 litre diesel will, however, be a new engine with the D-TEC technology.

“We have also increased the local content on the cars and it will soon touch 80 per cent”, he added.

Though the Siena is being phased out, car owners will not face a problem of components and spares, as the soon-to-be launched Petra and Siena share a lot of the parts.

Fiat India is involved in a legal battle with the other stake holder, Premier Automobiles Ltd (PAL) over the restructuring plan.

It is understood that the latter has opposed the proposal.

Though the company started off on a promising note with Palio doing well initially, its sales starting slipping due to the uncertainty it faced as a result of the restructuring undertaken by the parent last year.

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