The country's oldest car-marker Premier, formerly known as Premier Automobiles, said it has started the delivery of the diesel version of its new compact sports utility vehicle RiO from Thursday.
"Premier today started deliveries of the compact SUV RiO which is equipped with the 1.3-litre multijet diesel engine sourced from Fiat through its dealers in select cities," Premier chairman & managing director Maitreya Doshi said in a statement.
The initial dealer response to the new version of the RiO with the Fiat engine has been overwhelming, he stated.
Premier, whose Fiats still dot the city roads, has a sales and service network of 55 dealers that is being raised to 100 by December. It is also setting up 200 authorised service centres called Pass (Premier Authorised Service Stations) to service RiO, which offers a mileage of 19 kmpl.
The engine will be badged as 'CRDi4' in the RiO, the company said, adding the car will be priced at Rs 6.7 lacs (ex-showroom Pune) and upwards.
In May this year, Premier had signed a three-year contract to source diesel engines from Fiat India for the Rio, under which Fiat would supply 28,000 units of 1.3-L multi-jet diesel engines to Premier.
The Fiat engine will enhance RiO's power from 65 bhp to 75 bhp apart from enhancing fuel efficiency to 19 kmpl.
The petrol version of the RiO is being sold in tier II and tier III cities due to emission issues.
The company has an assembly plant in Pune with a capacity of 1,000 units a month.
Premier was set up in 1944 and commenced commercial production in 1948 through a licence with Chrysler Corporation and subsequently with Fiat. By 1968, the company went fully local and remained the market leader until the mid-80s.
In the 90s, it set up joint ventures with Peugeot of France and Fiat, but returned to being an independent in 2004.