neerajd

Fiat evaluating Ertiga rival

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After the success of the Maruti Ertiga, Fiat has been studying the option of launching a seven-seat version of its 500L micro-MPV.

Based on a modified Punto platform, this extended version of the five-seat 500L will have a large rear overhang, flat folding seats on all three rows and some really clever packaging. The car pictured here is only a computer-generated image based on the recently shown 500L.

What’s immediately evident is that this car’s neo-retro styling works well, despite the slightly ungainly MPV proportions. The non-aggressive, round-edged details lend this MPV a cheerful demeanour. The nose is pure Fiat 500 (albeit with elongated headlights), the big wraparound glasshouse looks stunning, the surfboard-like roof is super cool and the elongated tail-lights match the long lights at the front. The big, squared-off wheel arches look a bit out of character though.

Interior space will be maximised by compacting internal fittings and fixtures, and the insides will have coloured inserts on the dash that match the colour of the car. Fiat has used slim pillars and wrap-around glass to lend an airy feel to the cabin and the neo-retro look has been carried onto the dash of the car too.

Fiat is likely to use the updated 90bhp version of its 1.3 diesel (called Multijet II) to power this car. The updated engine features advances in areas of injection, turbocharging and internal friction.

This extended seven-seat version of the 500L is expected to replace the Fiat Idea in Europe, and Fiat is expected to sell it in other grown-up markets like the US as well. That will mean the 500L will be engineered to meet global crash-test norms and that certainly bodes well for India as well.

If Fiat fully localises this car, expect nothing more than an Ertiga-matching price of between Rs 8 to 10 lakh.

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Thats the post on Autocar Exclusive.

Now, what I feel is that Fiat will be weary of adding any new models to their Indian line up. Punto and Linea, howsoever beautifully crafted and running on the famous 1.3 multijets, they have been too low on sales figures. Even the 2012 editions have not seen roads enough.

Fiat had already played this card once with the Fiat Adventure which was basically a stretched Palio/Petra, which did not work. That size is ideally suited for a 7 seater but the Adventure was only an estate with a seating capacity of 5.

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I suspect this car will come to India but at a later stage, ie after two years atleast and in these two years, Fiat is trying to sort out the maess they have put themselves in and hopefully the should be back on track or atleast in a better position than what they are currently in.

On the 500L, going by the looks of the interior/exterior, it will still have an edge over the Ertiga and somewhat over the EcoSport or the B-Max (If it ever makes it to India).

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Personally, I feel that the Ford B-Max will have better quality than the Ertiga or the Fiat MPV.

And if we go by what you

I suspect this car will come to India but at a later stage, ie after two years atleast and in these two years
they are going to lose out by competition. Ecosport would have landed here by then. Duster has already created its space in the around 10 lacs SUV, Ertiga has carved out a segment with a sub 10 lacs 7 seater "LUV".. there is Hyundai trying to tap in this segment with its Hexa-space showcased in one of the Auto Expos, Nissan coming with Evalia, Chevy coming with Enjoy (cheesy chinese name :P )

Fiat can make some kind of money if it enters the market soon enough. If they come in late, with the market reputation they have here, they ain't gonna make a lot of money..

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@Neeraj,

They are highly unlikely to lose to the market. This is a mini 7 seater that resemble an SUV, there is no model to be present in this segment in the near future.

The only mini 7 seater is Ertiga, upcoming line up..... None. Elivia, Chevy van are not smaller.

Mini SUV - Duster, Xylo, Ecosport,Alpha,... but none of these are 7 seater.

So this, Mini 7 seater SUV will super succeed in India, if Fiat improves its image in the next 2 yrs.

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This looks very similar to the Mini Countryman from this angle. I have no doubt that this is an ideal car for India given the 7 seater configuration. People movers have always been popular in our country. If Fiat get all their issues sorted, this car mated to the national engine has a good chance to succeed and revive Fiats fortunes in India.

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@Bala, even though Nissan and Chevy vans are not smaller, they may fall in the same price bracket. Coming in 2 years late as AMG suggests, they might lose out as the others would have already secured a place in the market.

So, even though the current Fiat offerings are not really bad, they just don't sell as much as their Japanese, or for that matter, their German counterparts..

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@neerajd is right.

Two years may just be too little too late for this car. Fiat is having a hard enough time as it is, even though they produce two very good cars. Yes, if the 500L seven-seater was launching right now, it would have been a worthy rival to the Ertiga, and based on the way it looks, it would have really shaken up the segment. But given that there are SO many other MPVs headed this way before then, it almost seems silly to launch it later. Maybe the fad will have died down by then.

The other problem: Localisation. Look at the basic 500 hatch. True, this is not as retro-cool as that, and the interior looks more basic, and it probably won't be so well equipped. But unless they localise this very, very heavily (85-100%), there's no hope of them matching the Ertiga on price.

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This car has some hope and light for Fiat however, looking at this pic...it is gonna be a pricey affair and may not be able to beat ertiga.

But yeah since right there is a big problem in MSIL Manesar plant therefore there may be case when people would want to look for other optionn if the ertiga waiting period goes up.

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This segment is gaining heat day-by-day, frist Ertiga then Duster & now Ford, Skoda, Mahindra all are ready with their missiles!

I think 4*4 options in this mini SUVs & Leather, Sunroof etc. luxury packages in MPVs will be key-factor in this segment!

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@Neeraj,

The Chevy Enjoy or Nissan Elivia are targeted different target customers. They can't be easily self driven or it will fetch us good FE.

@CarCrazy,

Again, this segment is not MiniSUV but having SUV looks is an added advantage. Duster/ Ecosport are never in this segment.

Here, we are taking about a Hatch based 7 seater. My thread about the same few yrs ago is listed below. This segment is HOT and will be hotter, but still only Ertiga on sale and NO OTHERs in near future.

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@creativebala I agree with you, that this segments are diffrent on paper or for car enthusiasts, Joint Family members or travel agents, but when it come to a common man who wants specious & Comfortable vehicle, he will put mini SUVs alongside to this hach- based small mpvs & this pat of market is very important, as they are more in no.s!

That's why I compared them!

& Idea of this seg. also cliked me arround 11-12 years back. when my uncle bought Maruti Omni for his large family; I wasn't quiet happy & asked him that why didn't he go with the Safari? (only luxury mpv of that time), So he told me that he can spend only upto 10 lakhs & Safari is above this mark & due to joint family this was the only option!

& There was Ideas of more no. of mini SUVs & affordable estate in my mind from same time, as I'm the one who has watched Tata Estates(Poor Man's mercedes as widely known), Sieras & Maruti Gypsy! ( which till now stops my heart!)

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FIAT have always tried to spoil the Maruti Suzuki's party, which began with the Uno after the introduction of Zen around 2 decades back. But somehow due to Quality-Frugality-AfSS mismatch, FIAT failed to take off.

No doubt this 7-seater car is a absolute stunner, but changing the Indian people perception about the Red-FIAT logo, would be their first preference.

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Yes.. and thats the reason I say that if this is introduced too late, it may just enter the market as another offering.

Today, everyone wants the fiat multijet engines.. but no one prefers a Fiat car.. they need to do something to up their "brand value" in the market, make sure that their AfSS are at par with the other car manufacturers.

Doing this would also help them sell their current offerings as well as generate keenness in the market towards their new offerings.

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