Fiat India to launch 9 models in three years

A T Subrahmanya | Interviews | May 14, 2013
Fiat India to launch 9 models in three years

The Italian auto maker Fiat Group is now marking its second innings of sort. After going out of the distribution pact with the Tata Motors last year, Fiat has gone solo with exclusive show rooms to entice the customers.

As part of that marketing strategy, Fiat has now inaugurated three Fiat Caffe’s in the country which is most in any of the countries it is present elsewhere in the world. Fiat Chrysler’s new President& Managing Director Nagesh Basavanhalli has his task cut out and it is to improve Fiat’s market share and brand perception. But with the Abarth and Jeep brands in Fiat Chrysler’s kitty, the task might not be so difficult after all.

Here, Nagesh Basavanhalli speaks with Wheelsunplugged during the Bangalore’s Fiat Caffe inauguration on intermediate ring road near Domlur.  

Here are the edited excerpts:

It’s been a year Fiat and Tata have split from distribution and now you have come on board, so what is the immediate target or goal for Fiat in India?

A: Our first priority is brand and network extension and setting up dealerships. We plan on expanding and having more class experience for our customers. In terms of product strategy,  we have already announced that there would be nine new products. On brand,  we have initiated the `Make The Move’ campaign. It’s how we want to showcase the Fiat brand itself. The brand is known for its innovative technology and the brand is growing all over the work, Europe, South America, etc. Across the world, wherever Fiat is present it has over 5% market share. We want the same in India as well.

And what about the market share?

Yes, we want to double it. Right now it is less than 1% but with new strategy and dealerships in place, we want to double our sales every year onwards.

Could you tell us more about the models that you plan to launch?

As we have already announced, there will be nine launches in the coming days. While four of them will be from Fiat brand and four will be from Chrysler. And one will be an Abarth brand.

What about the Punto Abarth model that has been in news for some time. When is it going to be launched?

It has been announced of course. But we can’t tell you the time frame right now. We want to make sure we are listening to the Indian customer and give them the right product. We are focussing on setting up the infrastructure.

Could you tell us the thought behind Fiat Caffe.

Main objective of establishing Fiat Caffe is to show the Fiat presence in the country and also to show we have long term plans for this country.

Caffe will further enhance the experience of owning Fiat products. The Caffe will provide us with an opportunity to hold an array of events, both car and lifestyle related, demonstrating the values and culture we share at Fiat.”

And lastly, when is Chrsyler making its debut with the Jeep brand? We have already seen the Jeep vehicles on the Indian roads being tested.

We have already announced that Chrysler will be here. There are processes like homologation that we have to go through. But we will definitely announce once we have everything in place. For Chrysler, there will be independent dealers and it will be an independent experience for Jeep customers.

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