Thursday, June 1, 2017 9:38 am
By Daniels Ekugo
From all indications, the recent launch of Fiat models in Nigeria will widen Weststar’s market web from luxury automobiles to medium , Mini and super-mini automobile segment, a move that would enable it to slice into the market being enjoyed by the likes of Hyundai, Kia, Nissan and Toyota.
FIAT is known for its passion to manufacture cars that represent a progressive automotive future. In October 2014, FCA was listed on the New York and Milan stock exchange thus declaring the merger between Chrysler Group and FIAT automobile companies. FIAT’s alliance with Chrysler Group now provides a more competitive advantage with higher access to new technologies and advanced engineering solutions.
The new Tipo, which marks the return of the brand to Nigeria, debuted with latest-generation audio systems, including a hands free Bluetooth interface, audio streaming, text reader and voice recognition, AUX and USB ports with iPod integration, controls on the steering wheel, an optional rear parking camera and the new TomTom 3D built-in navigation system on all variants.
Managing Director, Weststar Associates Limited, Mirko Plath, said the return of the brand was crucial to meet customer’s demand. Acknowledging the current economic shortfall in the country, Plath was optimistic that the new vehicle would take on the likes of Toyota Corolla, particularly with its features and price differences, adding that the company has concluded plans to assemble the Italian brand in the country.
According to him, the organisation is motivated to offer best brands that will meet the distinct needs of Nigerians. The Brand’s General Manager, Stavros Diamantidis, noted that the vehicle, which may sell between N8-10 million or less depending on variant or individual specifications, boasts of leading innovations and features that offer more for less.
He added that the generous array of safety devices, comfort and practicality of the car meet customer requirements in the Nigerian market. With a high and medium spec, Tipo comes with comfort and safety features, including rear parking sensors, front fog lights, automatic climate control, cruise control, front armrest and driver’s seat with optional lumbar adjustment.
Being targeted as a family type car, the Fiat Tipo also features modern active and passive safety devices such as standard driver- and front passenger airbags (with side and curtain airbags as an option) along with electronic stability control (ESC).
The ESC system includes a number of devices including Panic Brake Assist (PBA), which intervenes in case of emergency braking by increasing the braking force; ABS; traction control (TCS), which detects wheel slip under acceleration and intervenes by reducing engine torque; and Hill Start Assist, which maintains brake pressure for approximately two seconds after the driver releases the pedal.
The new FIAT Tipo was definitely born to be a sedan. Its features are enhanced by Italian design, inside and out, which makes the car unique in its segment. The FIAT Tipo is 4.54 meters long, 1.79 meters wide and 1.49 meters high. The 2.64-meter wheelbase emphasizes its excellent internal comfort. Two alloy rim patterns (16” and 17”) are available with a wide variety of body colors (pastel and metallized) as well as four different interior segments. The FIAT tipo has a rigid, lightweight body chassis. This results in lower weight, first-class handling dynamics and impressive strength in the event of an impact.
Under the hood is a 1.6V E.torQ Petrol (gasoline) engine with 109hp that yields an economical fuel consumption of 15.9km/l. It also comes with a five-speed transmission and a Front-wheel drive. Thus, the weight of the engine and transmission is directly over the driven wheels to reduce weight and production cost, improve fuel economy and deliver better traction. The Tipo comes with McPherson independent suspension up front and interconnected wheels with lateral dynamic control at the rear. Thus, the suspension system is lightweight, efficient and reliable while the Frequency Dependent shock absorbers filter out stresses more effectively to reduce body roll when cornering.