The Tipo comes in sedan and hatch formats and is the worthy successor for the discontinued models, Fiat may also benefit from Citroen and Jeep launching new models.
Fiat, the largest Italian automaker has not had a very successful run in India, with sales numbers dipping below Luxury brands like BMW and Mercedes-Benz, and this is a worrying fact for the world’s 8th largest car manufacturer which is going to be even bigger post its merger with Groupe PSA of France under which brands like Peugoet and Citroen are sold. There are several reasons for the unsuccessful Indian campaign, a major of them being the Joint Venture with Tata Motors which did not provide a lot of success for Fiat despite the massive investments it made.
The cars are the other side of the coin, currently the Linea and the Punto in its various upgraded combinations like Avventura and Abarth is sold in India, despite these cars being loved by critics they have not stood out against their competition. And as the BS6 norms have come into place, Fiat has taken the decision to take the Punto and Linea off the sales, the future of the company is uncertain and if it has to continue, Fiat will have to look to its global lineup for help, the company has pretty much followed Mini and based its entire lineup on the 500, the small hatch as it was before but now you get a mid-size SUV, a performance oriented 500, and even an electric one. While Fiats brand Jeep is doing well in the country with its Compass and other models arriving soon, they really should look to bring more cars to market.
The Fiat 500 has been developed into five different cars each serving a different purpose, the New 500 is a all new electric car with completely different components, the standard 500 which now comes with hybrid powertrain as well, the 500C which comes with a soft top convertible roof, the 500X the crossover SUV with four-doors, the 500L which is a larger sized vehicle meant for MPV users. The variety that Fiat offers in the 500 range is unprecedented, and as a premium hatchback with Italian styling and a brilliant legacy as being one of the forerunners for a cheap and dependable car. The 500 range starts at around 20 Lacs so unless price is undercut the 500 is not really the best option for India.
Fiat also offers the Panda, which is one of the most successful cars from the brand, and now comes with Hybrid powertrain as well. But one of the most promising bets is the Tipo, which is a new car offered in Hatch, Sedan and Estate configurations, and it seems that Fiat India might actually be gearing up to bring the Tipo to India. Powered by 1.3 litre MultiJet or 1.6 litre Multijet which make 94 and 120 horsepower respectively mated to manual or automatic configurations. The important thing about the Tipo is that it takes one look at the car to determine that it will be a very strong contender in the sub 15-lac sedan segment here, its aggressive styling, with the sharp headlamps and the metal studded grille similar to the Kia Sonet make it very appealing.
Currently the Tipo in its sedan configuration is the best option for Fiat in India, the interiors are contemporary but finished with good quality materials, in other words a true successor to the Linea and if priced properly will be a good car to consider alongside the Honda City and Hyundai Verna( Segment price range 9-15 Lacs INR). The Hatch version, if launched, will be competing with Maruti Suzuki Baleno, Hyundai Elite i20 and Tata Altroz which are priced from 6-10 Lacs INR.
The brand can also use the other companies that come under it after the merger with PSA, Peugeot and Citroen, the latter of which has already confirmed a car launch for 2021 and more later. This will help boost the overall sales of the FCA-Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and also let Fiat build back its brand image in the country.
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