Fiat’s plan to introduce a locally manufactured 1.5-litre Multijet diesel engine could be now on hold. The reason is that its main engine customers like Maruti Suzuki and Tata are now believed to be working on similar units of their own removing the justification for such a large investment.
Maruti Suzuki, last year, introduced an 800cc two-cylinder diesel mill that made its debut with the Celerio. It is the first in a line of three engines with the second one being a 1.1-litre three-pot unit while the final one will be a 1.5-litre unit made from combining two 800cc units.
Tata, on the other hand, is working on a 1.5-litre four-cylinder unit that will make its debut with the production version of the Nexon compact SUV. The engine is believed to be good for 110bhp and will be offered with a six-speed manual. This engine is sure to find its way into other Tata models once it is launched.
Given the importance of the Multijet engine for Fiat, the move by Maruti Suzuki and Tata is likely to hurt their prospects in the long run which is why its large product line up of Abarth and Jeep models for 2016 is expected to be quite crucial to their long term sustainability. It also gives us an impression that Fiat may now try to move upmarket with its line up to concentrate on quality rather than quantity.