Fiat India has a car portfolio that’s old, very old. In a rapidly changing Indian car market, old cars are simply forgotten and there’s only so much that facelifts and high performance editions can do. Yes, special/performance editions get people talking about the car brand, and enthusiasts, drooling. But that’s pretty much what such short term measures will end up achieving. To really change the car market, Fiat needs all-new cars, and a compact SUV or two. From 2017, Fiat will make big amends and today we’ll see what the brand is likely to launch here.
[Render courtesy LPDesign]
Shortly, Fiat will reveal the Tipo hatchback, which is essentially the five door version of the Egea (Aegea) C-Segment sedan. The Tipo hatchback is said to replace the Fiat Bravo in global markets. For India though, this car could be packaged as the successor to the Grande Punto, given that the Punto is more than 6 years old. By 2017, the original Punto would be 8 years old, even as its facelifted version (Punto Evo) turns 3.
[Render courtesy RMCarDesign]
In times where automakers move from one car generation to another in 5 years, 8 years is a long, long time. So, the Tipo is expected to succeed the Punto here in 2017. Engines and transmissions are likely to be borrowed from the Egea. Plenty of new features, safety options and reworked interiors are other changes that the hatchback is likely to receive. The Tipo could be sold as a premium hatchback, on the lines of the Baleno-Jazz-Elite i20.
While the Punto still looks contemporary in Evo form, the Linea C-Segment sedan has clearly overstayed its welcome in India. With the Linea being replaced by the Egea globally, it’s only logical that Fiat bring the new car to India, and quickly at that. But it won’t be until 2017 before the Egea arrives here. Fiat’s Ranjangaon factory could be a major production hub for the Egea, which is expected to share its engines, features and interiors with the Tipo hatchback.
In the meantime, Fiat India could keep the Linea nameplate alive and kicking by launching an Abarth badged variant of the car. The Linea Abarth, as rumours suggest, could arrive next year, and infuse some excitement around the C-Segment sedan. However, a full model change is what the market expects. Here’s all you need to know about the Egea C-Segment sedan.
Also see – Fiat Egea – Images & Details
Fiat is also planning a compact SUV for the Indian car market. Code-named the X3U, this compact SUV is expected to be based on the 326 platform. A sub-4 meter length is said to be the target for the new SUV, which means that Fiat needs petrol and diesel engines measuring under 1.2 liters and 1.5 liters respectively (for duty benefits).
The 1.6 liter Fiat Multijet turbo diesel engine will be downsized to 1.5 liters in order to qualify the X3U compact SUV for duty benefits. This engine may also find its way into the Fiat Tipo hatchback and the Egea sedan sold in India. The SUV isn’t expected to arrive before 2018 though.
And then, there’s the Jeep brand…
Fiat will introduce the Jeep brand in India during 2016. Initially, operations will start through the top-down approach. The Wrangler off roader and the Grand Cherokee luxury SUV will be imported as CBUs.
In 2017, the Jeep brand will begin CKD assembling the C-SUV at Ranjangaon. The C-SUV is a replacement to the Jeep Patriot/Compass globally. Fiat plans to make the Ranjangaon factory an export hub for this new SUV.