Earlier in May 2012, Premier and Fiat signed a three-year deal for supply of Fiat’s 1.3-litre multi-jet diesel engine to the Indian carmaker. This deal has now yielded its result and on August 2, 2012, Premier will launch the 1.3-litre diesel Rio.
The 1.3-litre Premier Rio is a big deal for the company as this is the only diesel-powered Rio that will be sold in Tier I cities with BS IV norms. Given the demand for diesel vehicles in the market and the long waiting periods, the Rio has a cracking opportunity with its compact SUV design that also happens to be a favourite in the market.
We like the cosmetic tweaks given to the face-lifted Premier Rio launched at the 2012 Delhi Auto Expo that make it a rather good looking little vehicle. The 1.3-litre diesel Rio will be a worthy contender to the traditional diesel hatchback and will indeed stand out of the crowd. Also read: 2012 Premier Rio : First Drive
As for the engine itself, Fiat’s 1.3-litre multi-jet diesel engine does duty on a host of cars here in India, including the hot-selling Maruti Suzuki Swift, Swift DZire, Ritz, Ertiga, SX4, Tata Indica Vista, Tata Manza, Fiat Punto and the Fiat Linea. So, there is no questioning the engine’s reliability or capability.
The 1.3-litre multi-jet diesel engine produces 75PS or 90PS in various cars it is fitted to, depending on the type of turbocharger. In the Rio, expect it to produce around 75PS of power and return a fuel efficiency figure of about 18 km/pl in city driving conditions.
Under the agreement, Fiat will initially supply 28,000 engines to Premier. This number could go up based on demand for the vehicle. Fiat will supply its diesel engines from its Ranjangaon plant to Premier’s factory in Chichwad, Pune.
Until now the Premier Rio was mostly limited to Tier II and Tier III markets due to its BS III compliant 1.5-litre diesel engine. As for the petrol engine that does meet BS IV regulations, performance is mediocre and skyrocketing prices of the fuel haven’t helped either.
When the 1.3-litre diesel Premier Rio goes on sale, it is expected to be priced at Rs. 45,000 over the BS III diesel variant. That means there will be three models of the Premier Rio on sale: a 1.2-litre BS IV compliant petrol model, a 1.5-litre BS III compliant diesel model and the new 1.3-litre BS IV compliant diesel model.
Premier currently has 55 dealerships in India, which will go up to 100 dealerships by the end of 2012. The company also plans to set up 200 authorised service centres named PASS (Premier Authorized Service Stations) across the country.
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