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Fiat vying with Maruti, Tata Motors to replace Ambassador cabs in Kolkata

Discussion in 'Fiat India News' started by khurshid, Nov 23, 2014.

  1. khurshid

    khurshid Timido

    Messages:
    14
    Tuticorin
    Hi all,

    I just went through an interesting article. Sharing it for you guys.
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    Fiat vying with Maruti, Tata Motors to replace Ambassador cabs in Kolkata
    The cars are currently out of market with Hindustan Motors suspending operations at its Uttarpara plant in Hooghly district

    After Maruti Suzuki and Tata Motors, now Fiat is set to join the race to replace Hindustan Motors’ Ambassador cars in Kolkata’s taxi segment.

    The Ambassador cars, which enjoyed a near monopoly in Kolkata’s taxi segment for decades, is now out of market with Hindustan Motors suspending operations at its Uttarpara plant in Hooghly district of the state. Meanwhile auto majors like Maruti Suzuki and Tata Motors have already introduced of its models exclusively for taxi market.

    Fiat Group Automobiles India is also planning to launch a stripped-down version of its Linea mid-sized sedan for the taxi market in Kolkata. “We hope to get the approval for this from West Bengal soon. We have already started to sell the model in the taxi market of Mumbai and Delhi,” Nagesh Basavanhalli, president and managing director of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (Indian operations), said while unveiling its multi-purpose vehicle Avventura in Kolkata. According to Sanjay Patodia, managing director of Kolkata’s leading car dealership company Austin, which has now become the dealer of Fiat cars besides being the leading dealer of Ambassador for many years, the approval from the state government may come in weeks’ time.

    “Maruti’s dzire and Tata Motors’ Indigo has already started to take advantage of Ambassador's absence. The state transport department recently announced to give permit to 3,000 new taxis. I think, Fiat Linea, would also be potential replacement in this segment,” Patodia said.

    While the Linea is priced at over Rs 7 lakh, the stripped-down version for the taxi segment is likely to be priced at Rs 6.22 lakh compared to Ambassador’s price of Rs 5.60 lakh.

    Last year, Tata Motors launched a version of non-AC, non-power steering, and Euro IV-compliant model of Tata Indigo in the Rs 5 lakh price band. Before that Maruti had launched its stripped-down version of Swift Dzire for the taxi segment.

    Production of Hindustan Motors’ flagship Ambassador car, stopped after the management closed its Uttarpara plant on May 23 this year citing worsening conditions, in the preceding couple of years.

    Source(s):
    http://www.business-standard.com/ar...mbassador-cabs-in-kolkata-114112000872_1.html

    http://www.telegraphindia.com/1141121/jsp/business/story_19068182.jsp#.VHGq4YuUf7w
  2. Sumit

    Sumit Superiore

    Messages:
    607
    Munger
    I think its a good move by Fiat India. People will be able to connect with the brand. A** will improve. Linea sales figure will improve too.
  3. prabhjot

    prabhjot Esperto

    Messages:
    2,446
    delhi ncr
    The (stripped-down, basic) old Linea would make for an excellent cab, and give the city a new, long-term mascot (like Calcutta yellow Amby-s, or Bombay's kaali-peeli Padmini Fiats.

    btw, Most cabs in that great (i.e., just like Calcutta or Mumbai/Bombay) city--Istanbul--are Linea-s. For good reason: comfy, safe, big boot, efficient, reliable and long-lasting, and of course beautiful/ageless in design.

    Hope Fiat can win this contest, though i suspect it will be Maruti, Tata and Toyota who'll dominate new taxi sales, as usual. Saw (and used) a ton of these on my recent 10-day sojourn in Calcutta recently.
  4. pv_krish

    pv_krish Regolare

    Messages:
    418
    Chennai
    Grande Punto 1.3 90 HP
    The only car that can give the same safe feeling as the ambassador would be the linea hands down. Hope FiAT gets the approval and understand the match linea gives for the out going car
  5. ramjn

    ramjn Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    5,243
    Chennai
    Linea 1.3
    I am little confused.

    - Are they still referring Linea Classic here or they are planning to launch another stripped down version of Linea?
    - Mr. Nagesh says they are already selling Linea for Taxi in Mumbai and Delhi. Anyone buying Linea for Taxi in those cities?
    - Even if they get approval in WB to sell for Taxi segment, there would be hardly any buyers. Maruti and Tata has clear advantage in the Taxi segment as the spares are freely available in the open market too.

    I don't see anything new from Fiat this time. They had the very same strategy when they launched Classic. I may be sounding little pessimistic, but need to tell the truth. :)
    prabhjot likes this.
  6. prabhjot

    prabhjot Esperto

    Messages:
    2,446
    delhi ncr
    I have seen a few, very few Linea Classics/Actives as cabs in Delhi-Gurgaon and Mumbai, yes.

    I agree: this seems more to be a bit of Fiat PR pitch on the occasion of the inauguration of the new (Austin Fiat) dealership in Calcutta than a serious prospect of anything more than incremental volumes.

    Unless they stage a coup, like they did with the Gujju diamond trader in Surat who bought 500 Punto Evo-s, and sell a good number to one taxi firm?

    But still: it makes for the ideal cab, i feel, esp its durability, low life-cycle costs and long service interval, no?
  7. ramjn

    ramjn Staff Member Janitor

    Messages:
    5,243
    Chennai
    Linea 1.3
    @prabhjot - I agree on the comfort part. No doubt about it. But, think from the taxi man's perspective. They expect the car to be serviced quickly and also should be serviceable at any garage. I know a passenger car driver for a long time and he never recommends to buy a Fiat to me. Still, Linea is my third Fiat. :) We buy Fiats out of love. Taxi man don't have any sentiment.
  8. sandipan_r15

    sandipan_r15 Superiore

    Messages:
    749
    HALDIA
    WEST BENGAL
    Grande Punto 1.3
    @Ramjn,AUSTIN FIAT(previously AUSTIN DISTRIBUTORS) has been a decades old dealer of HM & MITSHUBISHI with quite a good reputation in KOLKATA. They have sold thousands of ambys over decades. Austin's goodwill & effort may bring some respectable volume for linea classic in this segment so far as taxi market in KOLKATA is concerned(if given permission by state govt).
    prabhjot and Murphy_Fiat like this.
  9. rsinfo

    rsinfo Regolare

    Messages:
    422
    New Delhi
    I have a Linea TJet & would be very pissed of seeing the Linea as a taxi.

    Could improve the spare parts availability though.
    rishike007 likes this.
  10. khurshid

    khurshid Timido

    Messages:
    14
    Tuticorin
    If fiat can bag those orders, I really believe that people will start changing their mentality towards fiat. Once they get into a fiat and experience its ride quality and its magical suspension, they would start preferring a fiat instead of other "El cheapos" :p . However, if fiat linea taxi comes with 1.3L mjd, Fiat should really think of providing a 1.6L heart to those sold to other customers.

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