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Fiat India awaits Turin nod to launch Panda

Our Bureau

Hyderabad , Aug. 12

FIAT India is awaiting Turin's nod to launch its B-segment Panda, one of its most-acclaimed cars in Europe.

The Director, Commercial of Fiat Auto, Mr Ravi Bharadwaj, who was in Hyderabad to launch its latest 1.9 litre diesel-powered notchback — Fiat Petra, said that the company has concluded a "clinical study" and has sent the report to the parent company. "We are awaiting nod from Turin to possibly launch Fiat Panda, which has been rated very high following its significant strides in the European market. This could well be powered by Fiat's one of the most fuel-efficient 1.3-litre diesel Euro 3 compliant plant."

"However, we don't see any new launches happening this year as we see this period as a year of consolidation both in terms of sales and customer support and dealer network. We have over 45,000 successful Fiat car users in the country now and plan a "direct touch" campaign to get closer to these customers," he explained.

Mr Bharadwaj, who was here along with other senior members of Fiat India, said in the southern market the company plans to consolidate its diesel car share and expects to market about 15,000 cars this year.

Mr Abhay Deshpande from its R&D unit said that the company has managed a significant level of indigenisation through the Indian vendor development plan. With regard to petrol engines, the indigenisation level has touched about 80 per cent and is about 65 to 70 per cent in diesel engines.

"With India and China amongst two of the fastest growing markets in the region, we expect to source some of the parts from Indian vendors for other centres," Mr Bharadwaj said.

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