Project 344 - Have we solved the mystery of Fiat India's small car?

22/02/2012 - 14:48 | ,  ,   | Shrawan Raja

Note - The bodyshell on this car is of the outgoing Panda's. The testing is for the components under its skin. The car will look different.

Fiat Project 344 rearFiat Project 344 front view

About two years ago, we posted the first pictures of the Novo Fiat Palio when it began testing and continued focusing the spotlight with assistance from our Brazilian friends at Noticias Automotivas.  This was in the feeling that it would replace the battered Palio in our market as well.

Posting continued enthusiastically until the point where it began to emerge that this possibility was dull. There was no realism in the speculation as Fiat was said to be working on a smaller and more inexpensive car.

The story took a different twist at the inauguration of the Fiat Caffe last month when we met Mr Rajeev Kapoor, the CEO of Fiat India. We didn't waste any time in asking him what is the sub-Punto car for India and it the Palio or is it an India-specific model?

This was his reply -

You see any product that is coming to India now by us or any other manufacturer has to be very India specific because, India is turning out to be a predominant diesel market. Any car which comes to India has to be very India centric because they have to address specific needs that the customers want. So yes we’ve been working on a car. So in the coming future you will see a car from Fiat. That car could be on any available platform of Fiat. That’s not an issue. You have seen Panda, Uno, 500, this car could be on any platform but it should be suitable for India..so the work is going on and at the right time we’ll let you know!

Fast forward to the third week of February and there emerges spyshots of a new small car from Brazil. Dubbed Project 344, the initial reports such as the one on Autos Segredos states that this car, based on either the Palio or the Uno platform, has set its eyes on the Chevrolet Beat and the Citroen C1.

It will be powered by a 1.0-liter petrol engine and the 0.9-liter Multi-Air petrol engine. Autos Segredos says production of this model is likely to start in the Betim factory (situated in Brazil) in April 2013.

In the next one year, this mule will grow new wheels, doors, windshield, lights, body and seats and turn into an Italian beauty pageant contestant.

Have we solved the mystery of Fiat's elusive small car? We have to wait for some more time to know!

[Source - AutosSegredos.com.br]

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