PAL or the Premier Automobiles Limited, a company renowned for the Padmini also tried to attract customers with another car. It was the Premier’s version of Fiat 124 sold globally. In India, it was sold under the alias of Premier 118NE. A car, known for a very refined engine and the slickest gearbox at that time, failed. But why? Let’s find out. But before that, we’ll have a look at the specifications and some major points of the Premier 118NE.
1985 – A new saloon car in India
Premier launched the 118NE in 1985 after acquiring the production techniques and tooling from Fiat. The car launched in India was very similar to the Fiat 124. But Premier decided to make some changes under the hood. And these changes proved to be good for the car. Premier decided to equip the 118NE with a Nissan sourced 1.2-litre A12 engine. This engine was capable of producing 52hp of power. But the major USP of this engine was the refinement. The square-shaped engine was quite a talk of those days and was smooth while revving. Using this engine, one could reach a top speed over 135 kmph.
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Talking about the car, it was a mid-luxury car at that time offering a good amount of features at that time. The interiors seem to be pretty sturdy too as compared to the more and more plastic in the Padmini. This car was made to last long!
Later on, in 1996, PAL decided to give the 118NE a new 1.3litre diesel engine capable of producing 42hp of power. This new engine powered Premier 118NE was known as Premier Viceroy while the car was reaching the end of the production days. By 2001, the company halted the producing this saloon due to low demands. But why were the demands so low even after having an engine and a transmission no one was complaining about?
The answer is simple!
People were not ready to spend money on the 118NE when there was a relatively cheaper option from Maruti Suzuki available a.k.a the 800. At that time, actually no car stood a chance against the mighty Maruti 800 which became everybody’s favourite car at that time.
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But this was not the only case. Actually the company was not able to deliver the car on time. Some people even reported that they booked their car in 1985 and got it after over 6 years of waiting. This is enough to kill the interest of people. The first car took 2 years to come out of the factory after launch in 1985.
But then also, the ones who have had the chance to drive this beauty know-how sturdy and refreshing the Premier 118NE is. People now also are interested in restoring one to its glory. Do you own a Premier 118NE or have come across the car? Let us know in the comments section below.