1. Introducing the smashing new Team FIAT T-Shirt !! To order yours click here : Team FIAT T-Shirt

TFI FIAT 2012 Linea & Punto launch report

Discussion in 'Fiat India News' started by gurjinder, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. gurjinder

    gurjinder Staff Member Janitor

    The prologue

    Fiat India officially invited TFI to attend the launch event at New Delhi. The onus to attend the launch fell on me and PaddleShifter, with Ansal11 also joining later. PaddleShifter couldn't make it due to some unavoidable circumstances so it was left to me and Ansal to attend the launch. Thanks to Ansal's T-Jet+, we made sure we went to the Lalit with style. :p

    At The Lalit

    We reached a bit early, where we met with Mr. Ravi Bhatia , Vice-President Commercial. I introduced ourselves as from being Team Fiat andee thanked Mr. Bhatia for giving us an opportunity to attend the launch event. He told us that he is well aware of Team Fiat and the support of the FIAT enthusiast community, exemplified by TFI is truly wonderful. He also stressed that the FIAT community has stayed with FIAT through thick and thin. Later, he told us that FIAT is aware to concerns being aired by many sections about the FIAT cars and that is the reason FIAT is coming with these changes on the 2012 models. The new Oceanic Blue , he told us, is launched by FIAT keeping in sync with changing times and offering the customer a more exciting shade to choose from. I also let Mr Bhatia know that the discontinued Blue color was sorely missed and this introduction shall delight the hearts of the FIAT enthusiasts. Mr. Bhatia asked about the cars we owned and how the service experience has been till date. During the discussion about service, he told us that he is aware that there are differences from dealer to dealer and FIAT is aware of this. Also, a strategy to counter this is underway.

    Later, we had an opportunity to interact with Mr. Marius D'Lima, Head- Corporate Communications, who beckoned us inside the hall to see for ourselves the changes FIAT intends to undertake with respect to the Communications.

    Inside the hall, as you all might have seen during the live stream, the new features being introduced were explained by Tarun Khanna, Head-Marketing. The new features have already been discussed and all info regarding them is already here.

    Here's a short summary of the changes:

    Linea 2012

    The top of the line variant becomes Emotion and will only be available with the 1.3 VGT Multijet, with interiors and wheels being borrowed from the TJET+ and the seats and the door panels being clothed in leather.

    All three versions come with rain sensing wipers and auto headlights. The active gets front fog lamps, ICE, outside temperature display, electrically adjustable ORVM's etc. The Dynamic gets ABS, EBD, Blue n ME, front airbags, steering controls , 15'' alloys etc.

    The ground clearance has seen a massive improvement and is now best-in-class. It is 185mm for both the diesel and the petrol versions ( 160 for Vento, 165 for ANHC, for Verna (well, the Hyundai site doesn't even list it's GC), and180mm for the SX4 diesel ). During the presentation Rajeev Kapoor stressed on the fact that the ground clearance has been accomplished by redesigning the entire suspension and the increase has not been by any shortcut method. He acknowledged the fact that FIAT cars have always been known for their ride and handling and he said that no compromise has been made in this regard to either the Punto or the Linea.As for how the increase in ground clearance has 'affected' the looks of the Linea, i think the people who put a question mark over the looks will be the one to answer this. With increased GC , i can feel much more safer while travelling over undulating surfaces, potholes, speed bumps etc. Plus, there is more comfort room for the suspension even with the car fully loaded. AND, anyone thinking of putting 18'' wheels on the Linea, FIAT India has just made your task easier! 18'' will look perfectly at home on the 2012 Linea. Even on the Punto.

    Mr . Kapoor mentioned that keeping in mind the requests being heard by FIAT in respect of the air conditioning not being very effective in peak summer heat (???:confused:), the FIAT R&D redesigned the entire AC system and tested it in 48-50 degrees heat in Rajasthan.

    A summary of the changes to the Punto are :

    Punto 2012

    The Active becomes more loaded than ever. It now has ICE with speed sensitive volume control, central locking (Punto is the only car to have ICE as standard in the base variant) etc. The Dynamic gets ABS with EBD. The interiors on all of the versions have been spruced up with a brighter shade of grey on the dashboard (top two versions get dual tone dashboards) and a seat fabric which matches the brigher grey. The fabric does not exactly feel luxurious, but it surely feels stout and durable.

    The ground clearance has become a mighty 195mm for the 1.2 and 185mm for the 1.4 and the 1.3. In the Punto 1.3 Emotion that we saw at the launch, the front wheel well space did seem a tad larger than it should be. BUT, that is the price we all have to pay for the state of the roads that we encounter everyday in India. So, kudos to FIAT for making these cars more practical, keeping in mind the road conditions encountered in India. One high speed travel on undulating surfaces in the 2012 Punto should let us all know why FIAT went in for the GC increase and how it helps. Guys going in for aftermarket 17-18'' wheels will surely love the extra space in the wheel well.


    I have already listed the prices elsewhere, but all i can say is that with the additional features and various improvements, these two cars define Value for money now. The base variants of both the cars are at a killer price range and carry a load of features. The mid variants seem to suggest that buying the topmost variant may not be necessary at all. And the Emotion Linea has been so priced that one can get many more additional features for not much $$$ over the dynamic.

    My take

    I and Ansal agreed on the point that the 2012 Linea and Punto are the cars which should have been launched way back. The features and the improvements should have been there when these cars were launched in the Indian market. But, that's not under our control , and the good thing is that FIAT is sensitive to user opinions and is showing a positive outlook for the Indian market. The reduction of the variants to three basic categories simplifies the criteria and brings it in norms with FIAT sales strategy the world over. The new color is simply brilliant and looks a treat to the eye. Pure eye candy. And with 16'' wheels thrown in the package, the deal gets even more sweeter.

    During the Q&A session with the top brass i posed two questions before them.

    Whether FIAT intended to bring the 1.6 Multijet or the Multiair to the Indian market. Rajeev Kapoor replied by stating that the addition of the 1.6 Multijet to the Linea has the potential to position the car in a different segment and at a different pricepoint, and as of now there are no plans for any such introduction. I don't agree with Mr. Kapoor's statement at all, but the news that 1.6 is not coming was a let down.

    Another question i posed to the top brass was regarding the changes in store for the 90hp and the T-Jet. This question was answered by Enrico Antanasio, who maintained that as of now, the concept to introduce changes to them are in the pipeline and will be announced later on. Some rumors suggest something around March 2012. But nothing concrete about it from the FIAT Management.

    That's about all i reckon.


    Disclaimer - We went to the launch on our own expense. Team Fiat is proud of its independent and un-biased opinion and thought.
    24 people like this.
  2. pioneeraaron

    pioneeraaron Superiore

    Well written Gurjinder.Loved those two questions you put forward.Why on earth they think that 1.6MJD is not capable to make it to the Indian scenario?? Regarding the AC being a chiller was also confirmed by a FIAT official to me.Also loved the fact that TFI went to the launch independentaly ::T
  3. Gurji.... congrats bro... for the promotion and I feel that 2012 is lucky for you.

    Good reading of your article.

    I think the 1.6MJD should come and also very much disappointed that rain sensing wipers and Auto Headlight are not present in the Punto emotion.

    Anyway its still a welcome change from FIAT.

    KUDOS to FIAT and TFI....... :)
  4. fiatlover

    fiatlover Esperto

    Grande Punto 1.4
    Fantastic report Gurjinder!
    You in your new role @TFI and FIAT India took off in style in 2012!

    Rain sensing wipers and auto headlamps are defintely good to have, but these may end up making us even more lazier behind the wheel. :p
  5. nird_1976


    A pure report ...an unbiased discussion and awesome style of writing...
    Real thanks for giving the best piece of writing about 2012 punto. This becomes an authentic information. I have read all other reports and everybody else (including tbhp) creating more confusion, as if FIAT themselves are not enough. I think, we are helping FIAT on this front a lot.

    I seek a small clarification. For all other refreshed launces, people would rush for test drive and try to give first test drive report. Two days over now, nobody has given a true test drive or road test under the changes made to punto2012. I hope TFI would again lead this segment and verify the following at earliest.

    So when we expect the first test drive report from TFI memebrs ...an unbiased one ...more importantly
  6. Italia-Linea

    Italia-Linea Staff Member Janitor

    not launching 1.6mjd has really disappointed many. Mr. Rajeev Kapoors statement clearly shows market fear that fiat has. they are not ready to play in market where vento and verna has 1.6l engines. i bet even if they compromise on some features and give us 1.6mjd it will be good hit.
  7. I feel Fiat could have aligned it slightly better. The top end diesels for Linea and Punto should have been 1.6 and 1.3-VGT respectively. And top end petrol for Linea being T-Jet.
    Quick question though : are 1.4 & 1.2 petrol mills come in a different state of tune or any modifications on that?
  8. clash81

    clash81 Regolare

    Thats a nice brief about the launch. Thanks Gurjinder.

    Is there a possibility for the existing owners to upgrade their vehicles to the new suspension system which offer higher GC?
  9. fiatlover

    fiatlover Esperto

    Grande Punto 1.4
    And may be, it is this fear that makes FIAT keep delaying the small car indefinitely. If they launch the small car and it doesn't click, that will be a disaster which FIAT will take ages to recover from. So better than that, do all the ground work, slowly and steadily improve the market confidence, and then bring the small car, and then any other model including 1.6 engines or Bravo or Freemont.
    This is my guess. There could be umpteen other reasons too.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2012
    2 people like this.
  10. sungoa2010


    If Fiat want to penetrate the vento and verna barrier(sales) in india 1.6MJD is the 'Bramhastra'. It is very difficult for a common man to convince that 1.3 MJD linea is better VFM than vento or Verna though we know it. The sooner they launch 1.6 the better it for the company. Also I feel they should have tapped much more torque(if possible) from 1.4 FIRE engines that can give a better initial pick up.
    Another good thing is the 195 GC for active. Especially in rural areas where a higher GC is very much essential, the active variant has the ptential to boost the sales.

Share This Page