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Thread: Is it the end of the road for Fiat India..finally?

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    Marshal roms's Avatar
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    Is it the end of the road for Fiat India..finally?

    Here's the latest statement from Marchionne who is currently in Switzerland at the Geneva Motor Show 2017 - "We were very strong and successful for a long time (with Fiat), but we now need to focus on our strength and it will be with the Jeep. The Fiat brand can’t relive its history again,” Marchionne told ET.

    Source - http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/...0.cms?from=mdr

    It seems inevitable and not shocking at all actually. This was bound to happen. But FCA's intentions of riding on the Jeep bandwagon alone may not seem like a sustainable decision anyways. Maybe they are banking of exports for the Jeep branded vehicles and will sell a few in our market as well. Sergio Marchionne's intent is palpable and it seems the Fiat brand is on its way out. Pity, given that they do have decent cars like the Brazilian Uno and Palio as well as the Panda and Tipo to cater upto the 15 lakh range of vehicles in India. That's without taking into account the 500 and 500X that would be too expensive here.

    One wonders if this iconic brand is indeed headed the right way. They are making a good noise in the USA with the Alfa Guilia giving stiff competition to the best from the Germans. But the world is looking at developing markets such as ours to leverage on lower costs of manufacturing and exports. VW, for example, is merging with Tata to produce and export low cost cars, something they can't manage to do alone. Anyways, this is what it has come to for us enthusiasts...we will have to enjoy our steeds till they last and eventually move on!

    Text of the article -

    MUMBAI: Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Group, said that his group will bet on the iconic Jeep brand to find its way back into the Indian car market.

    The Fiat brand cannot expect to ‘relive’ its history in India, and would instead have to ride on the Jeep brand to make its presence felt in the country, said Marchionne, who was talking at the sidelines of the Geneva International Motor Show.

    “We were very strong and successful for a long time (with Fiat), but we now need to focus on our strength and it will be with the Jeep. The Fiat brand can’t relive its history again,” Marchionne told ET. FiatChrysler, the merged entity owns the eponymous Jeep brand, after Chrysler merged with Fiat to form a single entity.

    Fiat, even eight years ago, was seen as a challenger to Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai, especially in the premium segments of the market, but today it sells much less than even what luxury car makers such as Mercedes Benz, Audi and BMW do.

    During the period between April and February of FY17, the Fiat brand had a market share of a mere 0.19% in India with sales of just 5,312 units, registering a decline of 30% in a market which grew 9% in the same period. An ageing portfolio and a poor network of dealers took a toll on the brand.

    Marchionne insisted that Fiat will now use the Ranjangaon plant near Pune — originally built for rolling out Fiat and Tata cars — to make the rugged Jeep SUVs in India.

    Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) India is preparing to start production of the Jeep Compass SUV, which will be exported to all right hand drive markets of FiatChrysler.

    In the coming years, Chrysler plans to introduce two more compact SUVs in India and will be challenging popular carmakers such as Maruti, Hyundai and Mahindra.

    Fiat, which has a strong association with India dating back over seven decades, thanks to its partnership with Premier Automobiles, had offered a rich motoring experience to the wealthy Indians during the pre-liberalisation era.

    With changing times, Fiat too tweaked its strategy in India.

    Its experiment with the Fiat Uno, post opening up of the economy, got a reasonable response but nothing spectacular.

    Then it tried to make a comeback with the Palio, when international brands such as Honda, Toyota, GM and Ford were making inroads into India in the late 90s, and early 2000. But the Palio failed to create much of an excitement.

    In its third attempt post liberalisation, Fiat decided to make a comeback with Tata Motors through a joint venture to make and sell cars in 2007.

    With a new and modern portfolio of Linea and Punto and the distribution muscle of Tata Motors, Fiat thought it had finally hit the right recipe here.

    After the initial buzz, these brands too started losing steam in the market, with some blaming the Tata-Fiat dealers for pushing the homegrown brands over the Fiat cars, which had the same engine and were produced in the same factory.

    A solo ride again, post its break-up with Tata Motors in 2012, proved costly as there were not enough volumes. So after years of bumpy rides, it appears that Fiat will now have to make way for Chrysler’s Jeep for the next four years.

    (This reporter travelled to Geneva International Motor Show at the invitation of Tata Motors)
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    Re: Is it the end of the road for Fiat India..finally?

    Truly sad. But Fiat's strategy in India at least was never clear. Two cars - Uno and Punto redefined small car market in the Europe but in India they could not do anything. Partly because of their mediocre age old petrol engines which were neither efficient nor powerful, partly because of bad servicing by the Tatas, yet another part by not offering VW quality VB or Hyundai features at nearly the same price point, and finally not bringing newer models and spoiling the looks of existing models. I still like the older design better. Oh! Did I forget their messed up history with Premier and those Uno's which were never delivered?

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    Re: Is it the end of the road for Fiat India..finally?

    Also there are talks of a VW doing an M&A with FCA...!
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    Re: Is it the end of the road for Fiat India..finally?

    In their interviews, nowhere they said, they are going to shut Fiat in India. My understanding is, they will concentrate on Jeep for a while as they don't have any other manufacturing unit in India. Once they promotes the Jeep with cost cutting local manufacturing with affordable prices for Indians, they would concentrate on other things. Meantime, they will have good chance to improve their multi brand showrooms where all FCA vehicles such as Fiat, Abarth, Jeep etc will be sold and serviced. Also, they have a good chance to clear their old inventory of Fiat. So that, they can concentrate on further models.

    In a simple word, I believe, Fiat never gonna shut their operations in India.
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    Re: Is it the end of the road for Fiat India..finally?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raaj View Post
    In their interviews, nowhere they said, they are going to shut Fiat in India. My understanding is, they will concentrate on Jeep for a while as they don't have any other manufacturing unit in India. Once they promotes the Jeep with cost cutting local manufacturing with affordable prices for Indians, they would concentrate on other things. Meantime, they will have good chance to improve their multi brand showrooms where all FCA vehicles such as Fiat, Abarth, Jeep etc will be sold and serviced. Also, they have a good chance to clear their old inventory of Fiat. So that, they can concentrate on further models.

    In a simple word, I believe, Fiat never gonna shut their operations in India.
    Raaj, I admire your optimistic mind

    8 years back most of the Palio users were also of the same thought when they planned to introduce Punto and Linea here and look where it is today...

    They have competitive products in all segments but in India it fails to kick off, corruption, lack of competitive mindset??
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    Re: Is it the end of the road for Fiat India..finally?

    Indian public always wanted cars which are lighter on the pocket and easier to service / repair at any garage. Safety, steering feedback, handling and cornering capability is not on the minds of the indian public. If only they had a mass seller model which was lightweight, Electronic Power Steering, fuel efficient petrol engine, parts freely available and all the joys akin to a Maruti owner. Very difficult to turn around from the gross mistakes made in the early days.

    While i comment the above in a negative light, the positive spin off is that we have some dedicated Fiat forums which came up because of the company's bad management or bad luck. If Palio was a successful car then maybe we would never had this forum and other fiat forums. No local meets, no national meets, no gangbang breakfast meets. Also wives of the members would be happier as hubby would be at home for long weekends and not in Ooty.

    While we still complain about the lack of models and newer launches I still feel that the Linea and Punto still looks better than the competitiors. Heck, the older punto still beats all cars in the looks department.

    The lack of sales has ensured one thing. The feel of exclusivity. Hardly any Palio sports in Santacruz / Khar area. There was one yellow Palio close by but recently owner moved away to Versova
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    Re: Is it the end of the road for Fiat India..finally?

    Currently i feel that there is a future for FCA in india with varying streams of income - sale of engines, royalty from engine manufacture by Maruti, manufacturing for Tata, Jeep manufacture and exports. Local sales would definitely take a back seat and domestic sales would be low going forward.
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    Re: Is it the end of the road for Fiat India..finally?

    It wouldn't be end of brand for Fiat, I think. Probably the segment to which they cater to will change. It could be wishful thinking but they may bring in a Panda below Compass should Compass be successful. Then other Fiat vehicles may follow. Engine royalties may or may not last. 12th April could be the date we all wait for, then?

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    Re: Is it the end of the road for Fiat India..finally?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vijethcm View Post
    It wouldn't be end of brand for Fiat, I think. Probably the segment to which they cater to will change. It could be wishful thinking but they may bring in a Panda below Compass should Compass be successful. Then other Fiat vehicles may follow. Engine royalties may or may not last. 12th April could be the date we all wait for, then?
    Whats there on April 12th?
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    Re: Is it the end of the road for Fiat India..finally?

    The Jeep Compass is expected to launch in India. This could well and good be FCAs last chance at Indian market, though!

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    Re: Is it the end of the road for Fiat India..finally?

    Vijeth, are you sure about the launch date of Jeep Compass ?
    There were speculations of Jeep Launching the Compass on 12 April 17 and the Renegade coming in June 17, but there's no confirmed news about it.

    Hrushikesh

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    Re: Is it the end of the road for Fiat India..finally?

    Well. Whether it's only unviel or launch not sure. But I read the date of unviel / launch as April 12 on Autocar website and a couple of other sites. The Jeep website also shows up Compass as "Coming Soon"!

    http://m.jeep-india.com/mobile/home.html?ref=/

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    Re: Is it the end of the road for Fiat India..finally?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vijethcm View Post
    Well. Whether it's only unviel or launch not sure. But I read the date of unviel / launch as April 12 on Autocar website and a couple of other sites. The Jeep website also shows up Compass as "Coming Soon"!

    http://m.jeep-india.com/mobile/home.html?ref=/
    This is one achievement by FCA where they did something they committed It was just to unveil the Jeep Compass to Indian market and create some speculations. This will help them to analyse the market after GST rollout and price it accordingly.

    Important day would be the timing of the real launch. That said its speculated post August
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