Fiat to launch Grande Punto in India this month

Fiat India Automobiles Ltd, the equal joint venture between Italy's Fiat SpA and Tata Motors Ltd, said on Tuesday it will launch the popular Grande Punto premium hatchback on 17 June.

The much-awaited car, which will be offered with both gasoline and diesel engine options, will be produced at the company's factory at Ranjangaon near Pune in Maharashtra, the automaker said in a statement.

Fiat India expects to price the Punto competitively by sourcing up to 85 per cent of the car's parts from local suppliers by December, the statement said.

"The car will fall in the same segment as the Maruti Suzuki Ritz, Hyundai i20, Skoda Fabia and the to-be-launched Honda Jazz," the statement said. The car will be available through a network of 100 Tata-Fiat sales and service outlets.

Globally the third generation Fiat supermini, the Grande Punto was unveiled at the 2005 Frankfurt Motor Show and went on sale later that year. A remarkably large hatchback by Indian standards, the car shares part of its name with the previous Punto; but a large number of its components are new, including a new chassis and body shell. Coming with a Euro Ncap 5-star rating, the Grande Punto is rated as one of the world's safest hatchbacks.

The Grande Punto, known for its cutting edge design and robust engineering, has won accolades the world over. Recognitions for the car include Brazil's 'Carro Do anno 2008' (Car of the Yar 2008), Autocar magazine's coveted design award and Auto Interamericana 2008.