Fading Memories – Fiat Uno

Spotted a Fiat Uno on one of those essential shopping runs.

Got transported back in time, to a few decades ago. Fiat had this incredible brand-pull in India and if there was anyone that could challenge the market-leader, it would be them. Their weapon of choice would be this, the Uno.

The clean lines looked as fresh as they do today.

Fiat Uno

The Fiat Uno was always a handsome looking car. Just the right size, for a nuclear Indian motoring family, the car had decent boot space to swallow their weekend luggage too. To me, she was a looker. Always a sucker for rugged, practical wheels, the Fiat Uno was a car to desire back in the Nineties. While i couldn’t quite click the car from all angles, i did feast my eyes on it. The squared off lines had aged quite well.

I remembered the surprising amount of space in the cabin, that even put a few Japanese saloons of the time to shame. The steering wheel was chunky, the dashboard with its storage nooks and crannies, quite practical and the air-conditioning was stronger too. The dash controls felt a whole lot tactile and the car had this solid feeling that the rest of them in the segment.

Potential buyers lined up outside dealerships with the booking amount in hand. The Uno was poised for runaway sales success. Alas, it was not to be. Anemic power-plants and missed delivery schedules, to  inexplicable delays in refunding booking amounts had doomed it. The heavier-than-usual servicing costs added to the long list of baffling management decisions from Fiat India. The competition chanced upon this ineptitude and their superior PR machinery did the rest. The Uno’s failure, was less a case of the car being to blame, as it was a failure on part of the company that produced it.

A shame though, for there were a considerable number of people who loved the car and were more than willing to put their money behind it. I have often wondered, just how different the Indian motoring landscape would have turned out to be, had the Uno succeeded the way it was intended to be…

The Uno, as with a lot many cars of yesteryear, have all but disappeared from public memory. Sightings are rare and spotting a fairly maintained example, still brings a delightful smile to the face, in memory of the good times and what could have been…

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