Tuesday, March 20, 2012
By Manoj Kumawat
Tata-Fiat JV still alive, Fiat to boost operation to bring sales back on track
Little do Indians know about the Tata-Fiat joint venture and little does the duo has put forth in the form of car offerings in India. Fiat still has only two cars – Fiat Linea sedan and Fiat Grand Punto in its stable. The portfolio has also shrunk over the years despite of regular efforts by the Italian car maker to make India its homeland. Lately, there were reports that the Tata-Fiat JV may see breakup but all that was nothing more than rumor. Latest reports suggest that the JV is intact and both the car makers are getting ahead with it in a fresh way.
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As per the new framework, Fiat will be going alone separating itself from Tata dealerships across the country. Thus Fiat will be opening dealerships for its cars in India. The network of Fiat Caffe opened just ahead of the Auto Expo 2012 will be increased and such café will be opened across the country. Over 20 such café will be opened this year in many important cities of India. Another expansion plan is the increase in dealer margin by 5 percent. Currently it is 8 percent.
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However, there are no immediate plans to further extend the product base. The Punto and Linea have already received facelift prior to the Auto Expo in January. These moves along with a go alone policy is expected to bring back the lost reputation by the Italian car maker. At a time Fiat cars were the next choice for Indians and time has come when Fiat showrooms are always on the lookout for customers. It is barely selling cars in decent number in the past 1-2 years. Sources say that in the meantime Fiat may also think of introducing a small car in India and it could also think of entering the SUV segment. Both these segments are hot and Fiat lacks offerings in these segments.