By on February 1, 2013

Fiat is one of the oldest car manufacturers in India, having enteredat a time when there was no GM, Volkswagen, Nissan, Renault, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai in the country. Today, Fiat is the second last in terms of market share, selling just less than a thousand units on a monthly average. The company below Fiat in terms of market share is Mitsubishi, which only sells SUVs in the Indian market. So how did Fiat manage to perform so poorly? Poor customer service, bad marketing and lack of new products has lead to Fiat’s slow demise in the Indian market. No more, says Fiat.

Fiat has announced plans to double its market share to 1% by selling around 25,000 units this year. The company has broken distribution ties with Tata Motors, which (or so it said) was selling Fiat cars through its dealerships. If one went to buy a Fiat vehicle, the dealership would convince them to buy a competing Tata vehicle instead. Now Fiat is setting up its own independent dealership network and has a target of 80 showrooms by the end of the year.

Fiat has announced its aggressive plans for India. The company will bring in new products like the updated Punto and Linea. Currently Fiat has only two products on offer, the original Linea and Grande Punto. The Italian car maker has also announced plans to launch a locally manufactured Punto Abarth along with bringing various products form the Jeep line-up. Currently, Jeep is not present in India, but Fiat-Chrysler plans to make India an export hub for right-hand drive Jeep models.

Faisal Ali Khan is the editor of MotorBeam.com, a website covering the automobile industry of India.

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12 Comments on “Fiat Plans Big For India...”


  • avatar

    I think Fiat has a fighting chance of making it in India. In Brazil, conditions are different than India, but I guess the weather and road conditions are remarkably similar. Mechanically Fiat does fine here. Like Brazil Fiat will have to keep an eye on 2 things: initial pricing and ease of repair (price and availability and speed of repairs).

  • avatar

    So, what do you think Faisal, any chance for success?

    • 0 avatar
      camchennai

      Very less chance, FIAT positioned itself as a premium brand in India when they don’t offer premium quality or premium feel. Their line up is aging and badly needs a face-lift, FIAT also needs to bring in new product which are affordable and competitive. Their slow approach and past history is paying the price.

      If they reduce the price and bring in new products their market share will improve else it will be a sorry state for FIAT with another round of wind up.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        Fiat used to be considered premium when very few people in India had ridden in anything other than an Ambassador. People used to make a big deal about seeing one because they were so damn rare and only extremely rich people had them (the merely rich had Ambassadors, and everyone else rode a bus, train, rickshaw, auto-rickshaw, scooter, bike, or donkey-cart). Times have changed.

    • 0 avatar

      If Fiat can launch the 500 range, they can get success but pricing will be key.

    • 0 avatar

      Besides Fiat needs to use Ferrari and Alfa Romeo to create brand awareness.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    I’m astonished at Fiat’s fall in India – I had no idea.

    Besides product lineup differences, could there be cultural market differences that enable Fiat to be successful in Brazil and Europe but not in India, where a company like Suzuki can rule?

    • 0 avatar

      Our own commentator Athos Nobile has pointed the way. It’s aftersales! People in developing countries don’t expect perfect cars. But they expect dirt cheap maintenance and short downtimes. Probably, dependent on Tata and importations of parts (I’m guessing), this was not possible. When Fiat broke into Brazil, they ran heard to go nowhere for a while. That’s when somebody there made it a point to offer cheaper and easier maintenance than VW. That’s the thing Ford, GM, the French, Hyundai/Kia haven’t gotten in Brazil. The Japanese have sort of gotten it though here they still don’t dispute the bread and butter of the market (looks like the Etios won’t do it for Toyota either).

  • avatar
    GTAm

    I seriously do not think that the 500 is the car for India. They need cheap utility cars like the Brazilian Uno or even something smaller. They also need an MPV and I believe they are working on one. They started exporting from India to my country Sri Lanka. But since they have no automatic, they may as well not export until they do. 90% of cars sold here are Auto. The Linea needs to have an auto or at least the Duo Logic box.


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