Special Correspondent

Small car to be launched around 2011

Fifth leg of ‘Fiat diesel drives India’ on

KOLKATA: Fiat India is planning a compressed natural gas (CNG) variant for its small car Punto, Fiat India Automobiles Ltd (FIAL) President and CEO Rajeev Kapoor said.

“We are looking at the CNG option for Punto and we are looking at a launch by the second quarter of next year,” Mr. Kapoor said at a press conference here. The fuel mix for this hatchback, which was launched some months ago, would comprise CNG and gasoline, he said.

Responding to a question as to why the company was launching a CNG-fuelled car rather than an LPG-car, Mr. Kapoor said that while the company had LPG cars in its stable, it felt that it was an expensive option. “CNG is a better fuel,” he said.

FIAL is a 50:50 joint venture between Fiat Group Automobiles SpA and Tata Motors. Incorporated in 1997, the company has its production unit located in Ranjangaon in Pune, Maharashtra. The unit has a capacity of two lakh cars, three lakh engines and an equivalent number of parts and accessories. Apart from Fiat cars, the facility will produce Tata passenger and next generation cars with an investment exceeding 650 million euro, a release said. He said that by 2011, the company planned to launch a car for the mass market in India. “We are designing in Turin, a small-car specifically for the Indian market.” This car is expected to be launched around 2011.He said that this was being positioned in between the A and the B segment.

Mr. Kapoor was here in connection with the fifth leg of the ‘Fiat diesel drives India’, an event which takes four of Fiat’s cars — Linea, Grade Punto, Palio and the Fiat 500 through a 16-State, 10,000 km drive over a month-a-half long period.