Fiat launches new Linea, prices start at Rs 6.99 lakh

The company had earlier planned to introduce the Wrangler and the Cherokee Jeep brands last October.

PTI| Updated: Mar 04, 2014, 21:09 PM IST

Mumbai: Fiat on Tuesday rolled out a new version of its sedan Linea in both petrol and diesel variants, with a starting price of Rs 6.99 lakh, ex-showroom, New Delhi.

The company plans to launch three more new models this year but has deferred the much-awaited rollout of its Jeep brand, due to subdued economic growth and uncertainty about the outcome of forthcoming general elections, Fiat India President and Managing Director Nagesh Basavanhalli said here after the launch.

"The Jeep is an iconic brand. So we want to launch it at the right time," he said, adding neither the market condition nor the consumer sentiment is conducive for a big launch. "With the elections also round the corner, we have decided to wait and watch," he added.

Basavanhalli, however, reiterated that the plans to first import the vehicles under the Jeep brand as completely built units and later introduce completely knocked down units, remain on track.

The company had earlier planned to introduce the Wrangler and the Cherokee Jeep brands last October.

Currently, Fiat's product portfolio consists of the hatchback Punto and the sedan Linea. It will be launching a Punto variant, the Avventura and the Abarth 500 during this year, he said.

The Linea comes with better ground clearance, which is the longest in the segment and better interiors, Basavanhalli said.

"With the launch of new Linea, we are optimistic about our growth here and are strengthening our commitment to our existing as well as prospective customers...The launch of the new Linea is a start of a new chapter in Fiat's journey in the country," he said.

The Linea Classic, which was launched last year, would cater to the C-segment while the new Linea will cater to the high end of the segment.

Fiat's Ranjangaon plant near Pune has the capacity to produce 2 lakh units and 3 lakh engines and transmissions annually.

The Italian auto major, which is on a comeback trail after the forgettable experiences of the past, including a failed sales network partnership with the Tatas, is trying to re-establish its base in the country after going solo last year.

The company also plans to add another 42 new outlets this year to take the total number of dealerships to 150, he said.