Premier Rio: First Drive
If there was a space vacant in the Indian automotive sphere, here is a vehicle that will fit it like a glove. Adil Jal Darukhanawala grabs a first drive of the new mini-SUV from Premier Automobiles on its comeback trail
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Yes that's right, Rio is the name of the new mini-SUV which many car makers plain dumb ignored and it is here that an old venerable name from the motor manufacturing business hopes to reinvent itself. Let's avoid the riddles and cut straight to the chase which in this case is of Premier Limited announcing its advent back as a speciality car maker in India.
Better known eons ago for its Premier Padminis and Fiat Unos plus the eminently forgettable Peugeot 304 which pulled the company down (or was it the other way around! - the jury is out on this count), Premier under the stewardship of Maitreya Doshi, grandson of Walchand Hirachand, has embarked on a whole new way to get back into a segment of industry which his family helped pioneer in this country.
First the method behind the madness and here it seems that Maitreya Doshi after the highly publicized spat with long time partner Fiat used all his business acumen to monetize his real estate holdings in Mumbai and then re-invest this into his firm's machine tool division at Chinchwad in Pune. This purely engineering-driven arm of the company began to specialize in cutting edge applications for heavy industry and has made not just a name for itself in its sphere of operation but has also managed to make the firm financially very sound. Apart from being shielded from the economical turmoil, the new business orientation also taught Premier to make do with less and this mantra has been put into place for a very lean automobile manufacturing unit at Chinchwad.
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