Two interesting Fiat cars have been spotted at Pune, India, over the past few days. The Fiat Doblo MPV and the 500L large hatchback are the two new cars spotted in India, wearing temporary registration plates. However, both cars were completely un-camouflaged, making identification a straightforward affair.
Test cars usually wear camouflage and also undergo de-badging to confuse car spotters, and the absence of these cues indicate that the Doblo and the Fiat 500L may not be intended for the Indian car market after all. While the Doblo featured MH-45 registration plates (Akluj/Solapur RTOs), the 500L featured MH-14 plates (Pimpri-Chinchwad RTO).
In the past too, we’ve witnessed a slew of Fiat cars wearing temporary registration plates in India, but never really making the cut to production. Some of these cars are used by expats working for Fiat at Ranjangaon while others are brought into the country for testing and evaluation purposes. So, until official word about these cars arrives from Fiat India, speculations are likely to rule the roost.
The Fiat Doblo is an MPV that is also sold in panel van and pick up truck body styles in various parts of the world. The Doblo, in MPV form features seating for 6 adults in an innovative 2+3+1 layout, with the space that is usually reserved for the seventh passenger serving as the stowage area. In its 2nd generation, the 4.4 meter long Doblo is sold with petrol and diesel engines in international markets. Longer wheelbase versions also exist for specific applications.
The Fiat 500L is the Italian car maker’s answer to the BMW Mini. The large, 5 seat hatchback is built on the “Fiat-General Motors Small” platform and comes with petrol and diesel engine options. The car was developed mainly in response to the Mini hatchback range eating into the sales of the Fiat 500 hatchback, which offers lesser space and passenger carrying capacity.
With Fiat India projecting the 500 hatchback as a sporty, lifestyle car that is imported through the completely built unit (CBU) route, the positioning of the 500L hatchback in India promises to be a tightrope walk for the Italian automaker, a walk that it might not take given the limited market for a large, utilitarian hatchback that is priced close to luxury offerings such as the Mercedes Benz A-Class and BMW 1-Series.