What Fiat needs to sell more?

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VW is in an expanding stage right now. As will any company be in their initial years. Right now they are manufacturing 5000-6000 cars a month and that shows clearly as Vento+Polo figures always come close to this. Even this month they sold 5700 cars. which is very good considering they are right in middle of Toyota and Honda and their sales have increased ten folds over the last year. Also many people are waiting for that long.Cancellations take place regularly. Many people I know have even cancelled Swift D. The waiting period shows the demand for the car. The cancellation are also because of a good alternative car available in form of Hyundai i20.

Fiat needs to admit, this is the third tie its fingers have been burnt. It does not have a brand image of awesomeness unlike VW, either earn revenues or make a new brand all together.

Also Tata is not driving customers away from Fiat. If Tata was, its sales figure should have increased from 8000 a month for both Indica and Indigo. But they have infact decreased and gone down to 5000-6000 a month for both of them, inspite of getting better engines from Fiat.

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I do not know why Fiat cars are not selling. I own a Linea MJD purchaed in December 2009. Till date I have driven 21500 kms & not faced a sigle problem, except for a change in front Struts, which was my mistake having driven into a big pot hole during the rains. The Struts were changed in a days time & car was delivered in original condition. Such was the service of TAFFE Acess Coimbatore.


I think it Fiat should make their precence in the showrooms in a different way as to the present setup. There should be a seperate enterence for FIAT cars in the TATA showroom. No TATA salsman should be allowed inside the FIAT lounge. This might increase the sales of FIAT cars in India.

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Its a fact that TATA is responsible for all this,and more is FIAT itself,to carry on such ventures.

A true experience:-

I went to a TATA-FIAT dealership with one of my friends,to have a look at the Lines MJD.There what i found was,sales guy trying to convince us for a Manza at his best,and simply telling us a fact hundred of times that Manza is far better than Linea at a lower price.

And after sales service,that TATA is providing to FIAT customers is simply superb,superb enough to make the people believe that Fiats are the worst cars to hit Indian roads.

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Blaming Tata for sale debacle of Fiat will reveal only a partial picture. Yes Tata-Fiat JV is producing ore fruits for Tata motors than Fiat, but hard truth is that with current product mix Fiat can not achieve desired success.

Both Fiats product Linea and Punto are similar in nature - have similar USP and similar weaknesses. I dream about owning a Punto but after studying pros and cons realized that its a vehicle to be purchased by heart and not mind. At present scenario, Fiat vehicles are meant for a niche market only.

USP of Fiat vehicles:

1. They look beautiful.

2.Ride and handling is brilliant

3. Safe feeling due to heavy and solid sheet metal build quality.

However these are overshadowed by:

1. Engine with average performance (barring T-Jet)

2. Inefficient petrol engines.

3. Poor interior fit and finish.

In addition quality of the vehicles are also susceptible. There are many horror stories regarding peeling of paint, rusting and interior body pats falling off.

So people like me who are willing to overlook poor service of dealer and W/S are repelled by above facts specially about unsure quality. Such customers are likely to go to Polo or Fabia stable. A.S.S. of VW & Skoda is also not very good but the quality of their vehicle is simply outstanding. That is why Polo has a long waiting period, Superb is trumping accord, Vento is off to a flyer and repositioned Fabia is also showing good sign.

If we compare Punto with the competitors we see that:

1. Swift offers better engine performance and efficiency. Even MJD is better tuned for Swift. Light weight of Swift also helps.

2. i20 is sheer VFM. It offers feature packed interior with premium quality.

3. Polo matches Punto in terms of looks offering better overall quality.

Specially after launch of Polo and repositioning of Fabia, Punto's future look even more bleak. Similarly, Etios and SX-4 diesel will do the same to Linea as well.

T-Jet case is different. Its a brilliant vehicle which can take the competition head-on. And here the poor service of Tata Motors is likely to play spoil sport. Further bad names generated by poor quality of Punto & Linea (normal)  will also hampers its prospect.

So whats the way forward:

1. Improve overall quality specially interior fit & finish : particularly that of Punto.

2. Launch a Palio replacement with an efficient engine may be with new age multi-air engine This should bring the volumes and position Punto as premium vehicle only. No more lackluster Punto 1.2 version.

This will do one more thing. In India people believes in word of mouth more than in expert review. So if a company can increase its customer base by selling a volume product and offer good A.S.S. chance of selling its other models increases considerably.

3. With present infrastructure Fiat has no other option but to depend upon Tata for after sale service. However, Fiat can open its own sale point and directly interact with prospective customers. Prospective customers of T-Jet will surely appreciate that.

But sad news as that Fiats new small car will not be in 2011. So under present circumstances, Fiat may not script a turn around story unless considerable effort is put in by QC & marketing people.


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The best way for Fiat is to introduce more scaled down version of Palio Diesel as well as Petrol just as what Tata did with Indica Xeta and should promote the same extensively.

The price of Palio Diesel should be more or less equal to Indica V2 Diesel

The price of Petrol should be in line with Santro / Xeta / Alto.

If Fiat scale down the Punto it will loose its image. 

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Here is something that can be useful,obviously if Fiat does it:-

1)New Fiat Palio SLX:

2)New Fiat Punto Evo:

3)New Fiat Uno:

In my views,if Fiat just try to improve its A.S.S. that is provided by Tatas and open its own service centers extensively,then this product line-up can get them too a part of Indian auto pie.

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New Fiat Uno looks promising but for a company to introduce entirely new product means additional investment and also time and creating other facilities which is not an immediate solution to recover from the dismal sales performance. 

I feel that Fiat's products are not of such substandard quality because of which  sale is effecting but it may be due to image of Fiat which is considered as "White Elephant" by certain group of customers but in actual it is not.

The image need to be changed and that to with extensive use of all modes of media.

If Fiat wants to stick itself into 'Premium' tag they should bring in Abarth Punto , Abarth 500 , Bravo, Punto Evo (through Import Mode) by opening exclusive Fiat only showrooms having look of possibly of stylish Italian Style lounges for its performance vehicles and that will help Fiat to build image and a consumer base who only wants beautiful and powerful vehicles..

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If Every TASS can service Fiat, customer will get good faith in Fiat.

When Indica/Manza shares more of hifi mechanicals with Punto/Linea barring TJet, every TASS can handle Fiat Service.


This might sound funny, but will induce super confidence.

Launch a stripped down Punto and name it Tata Punto and Launch a spiced up Manza and name it Fiat Manza. By doing this, general public will start to think, Tata & Fiat are one or the same and will have more confidence as once they know Manza is all but Fiat, they can easily make sure of getting critical spares for Punto/ Linea.

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You're spot on regarding telling the Actual Story of the Fiat India & its products here.

Fiats are always positiond as Niche products all over the world & with their main USP being the Quality, even in European Market Punto is expensive than Polo/Fabia but In India it sells at about a lakh rupee cheaper.

& Quality is the Only compromise behind this upto larger extent.

Since European cars use Un-necessarily complicated Mechanicals, which Inherently raises Inital product cost & hence arises the Cost to Quality complications & Here's the Japaneese manufaturers scores as they use Simple, Economical yet effective & Reliable layout for their products, like as Toyota developed the base Etios sedan version at Punto base 1.4 price.

& This is where the Actual 'MADE FOR INDIA' fact lies & first Non-Japaneese manufacturer who've understood this fact is Ford India.


If Every TASS can service Fiat' date=' customer will get good faith in Fiat.



'This is like a Space Mission given to an Engineering college Student'..

As already mentioned European cars uses very Complicated Mechanical layouts for even Simple system, say Clutch system -As with same 1.3l MjD  engine Punto uses Complete Hydraulic Clutch & MS Swift uses Simpler & effective Conventional Clutch system.

And To handle this Mess, even Trained Technician have to Scratch his head alot & for TASS guys this is a Remote & delicate story.
dr_nishu2011-01-18 17:43:01

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