After unveiling the Fiat 500 Abarth at the 2014 Delhi Auto Expo, Fiat revealed that the car wouldbe launched later in the year. Fiat Group Automobiles India President and Managing Director Nagesh Basavanhalli had told PTI that the car would be initially imported as a CBU but later,they were planning to locally assemble the car to offer it with a competitive price tag. Now, according to a report by a website, it looks like Fiat will bring the 500 Abarth only as a CBU and the plans to locally assemble the car have been given the axe. News is that the Punto Abarth will be locally assembled in India for a 2015 launch.
Fiat had introduced the 500 in the luxury compact car segment and limited volumes were imported into the country previously. Considering the segment and the high price of the car, Fiat feels that setting up a local assembly in their facility for the car won’t be worth the bother. The Fiat 500 Abarth gets a four-cylinder 1.4-litre engine producing 135bhp and 206Nm of torque. The car is expected to be priced around the Rs 25 lakh mark when it will be launched here later this year. The car will go up against other luxury compact hatches like the Volkswagen Beetle, Mercedes-Benz A-Class and Mini Cooper.
The Fiat Punto on the other hand, is locally manufactured at the company’s facility in Ranjangaon, Pune. To produce the Punto Abarth, the Italian manufacturer will import Abarth kits of the car and have them fitted on the car here itself. This will ensure that the price stays low, but not low enough to affect the sales of the regular Punto. The car will be powered by the same 1.4-litre T-Jet petrol unit, though we expect it to be tuned for a higher power output. Internationally, the engine produces 155bhp and 230Nm of torque in the Punto Abarth. Expect the car to be priced around the Rs 10 lakh mark.
Volkswagen, last year, introduced the Polo GT TSI and GT TDI cars here who with around 100bhp are the most powerful sub-10 lakh hatches in the country. Fiat will be entering an unexplored market with the Punto Abarth, one with very limited audience. It will be interesting to see whether Fiat’s strategy works and how the car fares in the market.