There is going to be a CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) coming from Fiat India in 2010. While initially it was not clear which model this would be, it was later confirmed by the Hindu Businessline that the new car would be a CNG variant of the Fiat Punto hatchback.
Fiat India CEO Rajeev Kapoor told Businessline that the company is considering a CNG variant of the Punto small car, possibly for a launch in the second quarter of 2010. The Fiat Punto has been reasonably well received in the Indian automobile market, with the Punto selling more than 5000 units till September 2009.
Interestingly, CNG works as a good option for small cars and hatchbacks. A couple of months back, Mercedes Benz had decided not to introduce any more CNG models, as buyers of their cars preferred not to wait for gas alongside taxis and buses at CNG stations. CNG stations are still not as common as necessary even in the metros, so the market will nto be very large for Fiat in the near-term.
CNG as a fuel has generally been as economical as diesel cars, if not better. However, things may change, as Delhi is all set to go in for ultra low sulphur diesel from April 2010, and this may see an increase in the price of diesel, thus driving up the demand for CNG vehicles.
We believe that the company would likely display its CNG variant of the Fiat Punto at the upcoming 2010 Auto Expo at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi in Janaury.
Fiat is also planning a more powerful petrol engine for the Fiat Linea, and possibly a power boost for the diesel Linea too.
The CEO of Fiat also said that the company is working on a small car for the Indian car market, and this is slated for launch in 2011.