The Ranjagoan, Pune, manufacturing plant owned by a 50/50 Fiat Group and Tata Motors JV has capacity for 330,000 engines a year and plans to export to other vehicle manufacturing facilities overseas.

"We will export to the parent Fiat group, as producing in India provides a 15 to 20% cost reduction," said Fiat India Automobiles CEO Rajeev Kapoor.

Initial export volume has not been set yet. Kapoor said "the whole plan has to be worked out considering the slow-down in Europe."

The company produces the 1.3-litre 'Multijet' diesel [an acclaimed engine developed by the now-dissolved Fiat-GM partnership also used in European Fiat and Opel models - ed] and the 1.2- and 1.4-litre 'Fire' petrol engines at its Ranjangaon plant.

Tata Motors uses the 1.3 litre engine in diesel versions of its Indica Vista. Fiat has now made over 2.5m units of this engine - which has attracted favourable press reviews in its numerous installations - worldwide.

Tata and Fiat India expect to produce only about 75,000 vehicles at Rajangoan next year but the plant has a capacity to produce over 200,000 a year.

The first batch of mid-size Fiat Lineas went into production late last month, following the Palio Stile and the Adventure Plus, and will be launched here on 16 December.

Kevin Jacobs

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