Fiat launches Grande Punto’s diesel variant

New Delhi, July 16 (IANS) Fiat India Friday launched the diesel variant of its hatchback car, Grande Punto, priced at Rs.6.79 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) and said it is planning to develop a new small car for the Indian market by 2012.

The company claimed the Grande Punto 90 HP with a 1.3 litre multijet engine will be India’s most powerful hatchback diesel car, competing with Hyundai i20 and Maruti swift.

The fuel efficiency of the car is said to be 20 km a litre and will come with dual stage airbags, anti-lock braking system (ABS), alloy wheels with widest tyres in its class of cars.

The hatchback can also be personalized through a special accessory pack which includes rear spoiler, chrome exhaust tip and sporty aluminium pedals.

‘The Grande Punto 90HP multijet will aim to consolidate our position with in the performance diesel segment which has been relatively untapped unto now,’ said Rajeev Kapoor, president and chief executive Fiat India.

According to the company, the fuel-price deregulation which is fast closing the price gap between diesel and petrol will not effect the car’s sales prospects.

‘Even in countries where diesel and petrol prices are close people prefer diesel cars over petrol because of its efficiency which saves at least 40 percent of cost,’ said S. Krishnan, senior vice-president, commercial passenger vehicles of Tata motors, which is a 50 percent partner in Fiat India.

Grande Punto, which was launched last year, is the third offering from the stable of Fiat after Linea and Palio.

The company expects to double its sales figures from the current 23,000 to around 40,000 cars.

Fiat is also planning to develop a new small car for the Indian market by 2012.

‘We will develop a new small car for the Indian market by 2012 for which market research is already going on. We are looking for data which shows people’s expectations for a small car of the future,’ said Kapoor.

The new car will be developed by Fiat and not in collaboration with the Tatas, said the company.

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