The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Fiat mulls answer to Maruti bestseller

New Delhi, Nov. 17 (PTI): Fiat India may launch an entry level small car in the domestic market next year which is expected to create ripples in the country’s auto industry, ending the monopoly of Maruti Udyog.

“We have a new ‘A’ segment (entry level) car ready in Europe scheduled for an international roll-out in 2003. We may consider launching this product in India as well after studying the market and consumer preferences,” Fiat India chairman and managing director M. P. Bianchi said. He, however, declined to give details about the car.

At present, only market leader Maruti produces the ‘A’ segment car ‘Maruti-800’. This car is the highest selling passenger vehicle in the country with annual sales of over 1.2 lakh units.

Sales of the Maruti 800 have however declined due to changing consumer tastes and narrowing of the price gap between the Maruti 800 and other premium small or ‘B’ segment cars like Maruti ‘Zen’, ‘Alto’ and ‘Wagon R,’ ‘Hyundai Santro,’ ‘Tata Indica’ and ‘Fiat Palio’.

Fiat India, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Italy’s Fiat Auto SPA, manufactures the ‘B’ segment cars—Palio and Uno and the mid-size or ‘C’ segment car ‘Siena’.

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