Discussion in 'Fiat India News' started by Ravi, Jun 1, 2010.
Some food for thought - (T-BHP)
I also read this post by Amartya.
By the way, is he a TFIan as well?
Interesting compiled data - Click the picture to see better view.
Gr8 contribution Ravi!
As per T-BHP, Punto 1012 and Linea 800.
If you see the chart, from Apr to Aug'10, Punto sales are varying more whereas Linea is pretty much consistent.
FIAT is the only company with declining YoY sales . It deserves to sell more.
Fiat needs to have its own trained professionals at all Tata showrooms. its very important to keep the no. up.
There are 2 companies (and a few more) where I could draw an analogy: Fiat & GM in India.
However hard they try, whatever best they do, whatsoever irresistible offers they make, however good products they offer, both are not able to hit or maintain a rising curve in Sales. Fiat sales are discussed in detail in this thread, the strengths of Linea & Punto as a product is known. Lets come back to GM to draw an analogy. GM has 2 mainstream mass-market products - Spark & Beat - at a mouthwatering price, at a very lucrative maintenance contract for 3-4 years, offers features, equipments some of them are even innovative, its MD in India came to the field & appeared in the ad etc etc. The result? - a surge in sales for some time which slowly tapered off & now both Spark & Beat sales 2500- apiece.
I quote my example. From the very beginning buying a GM car has never appealed to me at all though I always knew its car as product are good. Somehow very initially I had a perception that GM cars do not sell in India (I've a friend with automobile knowledge). Though I could beat a similar perception issue while deciding on buying Linea but could never shrug off that perception for GM. In all recent months when GM sales were surging due to excellent offerings of Spark, somehow I always believed in back of my mind that GM sales would never skyrocket or come in distant reckoning.
Sad but true.
Another similar case I observed was Ford. Ikon was a very good car but could never ignite sales chart. Ford service was also not bad, in fact, it was good. Unlike Fiat, it did not carry baggage of horror stories of the past. The only item against Ford & GM was higher maintenance costs. With Figo as a mass-market product, Ford also had made initial inroads. However, these are still early days as we've example of GM with initial Spark success. It remains to be seen how long Ford can maintain Figo sales numbers.
Like GM & Ford, Fiat also always made initial inroads with new products (example Uno & Palio) but could never maintain it. Uno bookings were record at that time. Palio initially raised so much interest & sold in good numbers - both cars could not sustain it for various reasons which have been already discussed often earlier.
Spot on VP. I too had a similar feeling for GM though not for Ford. Prior to booking the Punto I had extensively checked out the Aveo U-VA. The sales person demonstrated me the torque levels the petrol engine is capable of. During TD he asked me to slot into 4th gear and just take my foot off the accelerator, and the car went slowly but steadily up a gradient at about 10-15kph without stalling. Driving through rough patches was much better than any Maruti or Hyundai hatches I was familiar with. Then a friend of me who went on a long trip with family on his U-VA shared his experience in the comfort level. But even after all these I could not get myself to book a U-VA. I asked the sales person to give me two months to decide and came back. Punto was released a few weeks later and the day I booked Punto I got a call from GM asking me if I am still looking at U-VA. :roll:
Looking back, if Punto was not released I would have gone for Ritz, if I had waited some more time I might have gone for Figo or may be Micra, but not U-VA. It is some perception / mind block which I am not able to overcome. I guess many others do have the same thing about Fiat.
What does the Fiat brand stand for today?
- A company struggling to find a foothold in India.
- Cars that come with service & spare issues.
- Cars that come with poor fit & finish of the interiors.
- Cars that have niggling issues.
- Cars that are neither as easy to drive as Japs nor as fun to drive as the Palio GTX / S10 breed of cars.
The MAJOR reason for poor Fiat sales is most people don't even consider Fiat car's while looking to buy one. VW has achieved in 3 months what Fiat has failed to do so in 15 years and what they probably never will ever.
The Linea & Punto launches were the oppurtunity for Fiat to bring the zing back into the brand. The launch should have been a stupendous affair full of glitz & glamour, dealerships should have been given the Italian pizzaz , made to look like Venice , have them serve Pizza's and wine. Instead what we had? A mororse looking Rajiv Kapoor with some Italian head honcho's in suits looking downcast , shoulder's drooping and thoroughly bored in the conference room of some 5 star hotel. Not the best way to announce - Guy's we are back & How!!
When someone looks at a Linea or a Punto what does he think? Nothing. What is the one thing that clicks in his mind? What do these cars stand for? Are they practical family hatchbacks? Are they practical family hatch / sedans that are a bloody hot to drive? Nobody knows. And the car maker doesn't care to tell us either! What cars does the Punto compete with? I have seen it get compared with cars right from Figo to Jazz! Where does Fiat want to position the Punto? I would say chuck the 1.2 and just have the 75 & 90 MJD and 1.4 L petrol and T-JEt motors. Improve quality of interiors and target i20, Polo , Jazz & Fabia. Don't bother with the cut price Figo's , Tata's and Maruti's. Your market should be the upwardly mobile yuppie who prefers style and fun to drive over wide spread service network. But you can't attract this segment with a tired brand like Fiat.
The one thing that's lacking in the Fiat brand and cars is ZING. Linea T-JEt has the potential to change that PROVIDED Fiat has the guts to launch it as a outright performance car. Why restrict it to 110bhp if it work at 120bhp? And stop the cost cutting. People will pay money for visible quality. Improve plastics and fit & finish. You can't have power window consoles popping out in any car - not even a Nano. How difficult is it to design something as simple as a power window console in today's times?!?
Fiat has always been a lost oppourtunity. They have never had focus and never will. Read Ratan Tata's interview in ACI. To a question on how much deeper synergies will go between Fiat / Alfa Romeo and Tata he diplomatically says top management has good understanding but part of the problem is Fiat's objective's keep changing on where they want to be and where they want to go. Right now they are focussing on integrating Chrysler & Fiat and that's going to take up a few years.
It's getting tiring to see Fiat struggling to sell good cars here. It's getting boring to say Fiat cars are good and deserve to sell more. It's getting tiring to say service and spare issues are being sorted out. If they can't sort out all this in 15 years then when can they? Can they?! Honestly, Fiat deserve to be where they are and they will continue to sink into the deep bottomless pit called the booming Indian car market until they don't shake themselves up and take the second most important car market in the world seriously.
There is competition coming up every day. VW just didn't land here one fine day in a Polo. The entire country knew for years they are coming. I am sure Fiat did too. Were they prepared to take the onslaught from Europe's biggest car maker and soon to be the world's biggest car maker?
Today when I think of my next car, I can see a VW on the horizon. That's how good a job VW has done.
My prediction is Fiat will be selling Linea and Punto in double figures by January 2011.
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