Fiat now plans to launch the
Palio in India only in June-July 2000. The model was set to roll out on Indian roads in
July-August this year. Fiat India Automobiles, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Fiat Auto
Spa of Italy, says the launch of the car, which is part of Fiat''s world car project, has
been postponed by a year as its other two cars, the Siena and the Uno, are in good demand
in the Indian market. The company wants to consolidate this position.
Before it launches the Palio, Fiat will
introduce its multi-utility vehicle, the Station Wagon, early next year. The Station Wagon
is also part of Fiat''s world car project. Surprisingly, the company has fixed the price of
the base model at around Rs 4.5 lakh, which is in direct competition with the prices of
The Palio will be made at Fiat Auto''s
Ranjangaon plant in more than one version. The Ranjangaon factory has a capacity to
produce 85,000 cars. Once the production touches full capacity, Fiat will start exporting
The Palio has a four-cylinder petrol
engine of 1,242 cc capacity with a multi-point fuel injection system. The engine gives a
maximum of 72 bhp power and a torque rating of 10.2 khm at 3,000 rpm. Air-conditioning
will be a standard feature. It has an automatic braking system and fire prevention system
that cuts off fuel flow to the engine in case of accidents. The other features include
climate control system, body-coloured bumpers, heated rear windows, front and rear seat
belts and a luggage compartment opening from inside the car.
The Siena and the Palio are the first
world cars to be produced and launched in India. Fiat has already set up manufacturing
facilities in Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Poland, Turkey and Morocco.
When the three-box saloon Siena was
launched in April 1999, it evoked keen customer response. The booking for the first 2,000
cars was completed within the first 10 days. These cars are now being delivered. The next
round of bookings is expected to be started sometime in August.
Siena is positioned against Maruti''s
Esteem, Ford''s Escort, Honda''s City and Daewoo''s Cielo. On the other hand, the Palio will
be placed somewhere among the small cars of Maruti, Hyundai and Daewoo and General Motors''
Corsa, which is scheduled for launch in end-1999.