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Premium sports hatchback Abarth 595 launched; why is it special?

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New Delhi :Italian-American auto major Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has launched its premium sports hatchback Abarth 595 Competizione priced at Rs 29.85 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) in India.

The company will also launch a new model, Punto Abarth around the festive season as it looks expand product portfolio in the Indian market.

“We had promised that we would bring the Abarth to India and it is important to deliver on the promise we made,” Fiat Chrysler Automobiles India President and Managing Director Kevin Flynn told PTI.

He further said: “Abarth 595 Competizione is known for its sheer performance, iconic style and rich heritage. With this launch, we are hoping to bring this same legacy to our Indian customers and are confident that Abarth would provide a superior driving experience.”

In order to add to the Abarth line up, Flynn said: “We will also Punto Abarth around the festive season. This will be another performance oriented hatchback in the Abarth range.”

While the Abarth 595 Competizione will be imported as a completely built unit, the Punto Abarth will be locally made, he added.

On the company’s plans to enhance model line up in the country, Flynn said: “India is a strategic market for us and this is an integral part of our commitment to widen our portfolio and to provide greater value not only to our customers but other stakeholders as well.”

Admitting that the company has been up against negative brand perception in India, he said the priority is to gain consumer confidence while also making business for its dealer partners viable in the long-term.

“We need to again resonate with the Indian buyers with our current and latest products. We will be focusing on brand building and change the current perception that customers have, which is mostly based on hearsay and not necessarily on actual experience,” Flynn said.

In July, Italian-American auto major Fiat Chrysler Automobiles had announced that it would invest USD 280 million (over Rs 1,780 crore) in its manufacturing joint venture with Tata Motors to support production of Jeep model which is expected to roll out in the second quarter of 2017.

“With Jeep coming in, it will open up our product family further. It is part of a bigger plan for India,” Flynn said.

Ranjangaon will be the fourth plant outside the US for volume production of Jeep vehicles. Jeep branded vehicles are also currently built in Italy and Brazil, and will begin production in China in the fourth quarter of 2015.

At present Fiat has a capacity to produce 1.35 lakh cars per annum from the plant.

In 2014, Fiat Chrysler had announced plans to launch 12 models in India in five years.

Besides Abarth, we put together a list of the upcoming premium hatchbacks in India:

1. Maruti Suzuki YRA

Expected Price – Rs. 5.5 lakh – Rs. 9 lakh

Expected Launch – Festive season

2.Tata Bolt Sport

Expected Price – Rs. 8 lakh – Rs. 10 lakh

Expected Launch – End of 2015

3. Ford Figo

Expected Price – Rs. 4.5 lakh – Rs. 7 lakh

Expected Launch – Early 2016

4. Punto Abarth

Expected Launch – Festive season

5. Maruti to Launch YRA Hatchback in October 2015

6. YBA Compact SUV in January 2016

PTI