Fiat bets big on premium segment, plans new Linea

Written by Ronojoy Banerjee | Ronojoy Banerjee | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 17 2010, 05:57am hrs
Sensing a growing market for premium executive sedans in the country, Fiat India is looking to launch a high-end version of its executive sedan Linea by the end of this year. The companys marketing head Tarun Khanna told FE that the company was working on a new car that would have more features and cost higher than the existing Linea.

Calling the model a top-end Linea, Khanna said that the car would hit the roads by the end of the calendar year. The top-end Linea should be launched by the end of this (calendar) year. We are looking to add new features in the existing Linea and the car would be positioned accordingly, he said. The new Linea would have a turbo charged petrol engine and is expected to cost at least Rs 30,000 more than the existing car. The turbo charged petrol engine is highly fuel efficient and therefore the engine costs around Rs 30,000 more than other engines, Khanna said. He declined to share the exact price of the new Linea. The existing Linea costs anywhere between Rs 6.4 lakh to Rs 8.7 lakh.

This forms a part of the companys overall strategy to penetrate into the Indian market and create a niche for itself. In fact, the company is expanding its dealership across the country from 183 dealers to 200 by the end of the year. Fiat India unveiled its new diesel variant of its hatchback, Grande Punto on Friday. The diesel powered car would cost Rs 6.79 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).

At present, Fiat India is developing a small car that would be priced below the Punto. We are working on a small car. Currently, we are studying what the consumer requirements are, president and CEO of Fiat India Rajeev Kapoor said. The firm may also leverage its joint-venture with Tata Motors to produce the car. The facilities of Tata Motors are available for (product) development, Kapoor said.