Fiat is re-launching its flagship compact marquee Cinquecento, popularly known as Fiat 500, in the next few months. This follows the successful entry of Volkswagen’s iconic Beetle, which has surpassed original sales targets and created a flutter in the luxury small car space.
Italian car maker had launched Cinquecento in 2008 creating the market for high-end hatchbacks that cost as much as premium sedans. But its marketing efforts failed to lift Cinquecento sales and only 68 units were sold till date. In contrast, Volkswagen sold over 300 units of Beetle since its launch last November, with over 100 units sold in the May-June period alone.
“Retro cars with distinctive looks are a big hit and that’s what we would capture in our new campaign to be rolled out in a few months,” said Fiat Auto India CEO Rajeev Kapoor. Fiat has delayed the launch of its other luxury cars such as Bravo sedan and is banking on the compact luxury vehicle segment by re-launching Cinquecento.
Cinquecento was reintroduced in Europe in March 2007, exactly 50 years after the first Fiat 500 rolled out of the factory in Turin.
In India, it comes strapped with a 1.3 litre CRDi multi-jet engine that also powers the Punto, Maruti Swift and Tata Indica Vista. Fiat aims to hit the market with some new variants of the car and will allow customisation to get an advantage in the market.
Cinquecento is priced Rs 14.82 Lakh as per the company web site, almost a quarter lower compared to the Beetle that comes at an ex-showroom price of Rs 20.45 Lakh. “We have a clear price advantage and will play it to our customers with various options for the product,” Mr Kapoor said.