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Fuel price - Discussion

Discussion in 'Non FIAT Cars and two wheelers' started by basis, Jan 24, 2012.

  1. xplorauto


    We Fiat lovers and the Indian car buyers at large would be so much more pleased if Mr.Merchionne can get his company and his representatives in India to demonstrate half the guts that he so ardently admires of Suzuki. It has been 4 years since the Linea & Punto were launched in India and within a quarter of their launches the writing was out there on the wall. The Indian buyers desired the 1.6 MJD and wanted an improved fit and finish in their products. It took them close to half a decade to correct that obvious glaring short coming and probably would require another half a decade more to introduce the 1.6 MJD. In these 4 years, VW which was non-existent in the segment at that time, came in and literally bull dozed the market with an offering which were seemingly better in precisely those two counts. Fiat meanwhile stagnated like a fossil and watched themselves being pushed to oblivion and like always lamented on their fate in India.

    People argue that they were bound by legalities of the JV with Tata, but honestly I find it hard to buy that argument. No organization can be so naive to ink a deal that does not leave a way out for them. The fact is that Fiat was not gutsy enough!!! They didn't have the guts to push Tata to open dedicated service centers with well trained service staff, they were not gutsy enough to push Tata separate their retail infrastructure. They were not gutsy enough to demand a strict evaluation of and vigilance on dealerships. They were not gutsy enough to reach out to the audience, own up their mistakes and communicate in clear and certain terms of what measures are being adopted to correct those and what road map they have for the country. Mr Rajeev Kapoor, in more known for what he didn't make a comment on rather than on what he did as a mark of reassurance to Indian consumers. The bottom line is Fiat hasn't shown guts to move beyond being a fringe player despite they having capability to bring out products that can set industry benchmarks.

    I can only think of Fiat being an emotional fool if they donated their technology and kept no differentiating aspect for themselves. Doesn't matter even if it were Suzuki. A competitor is a rival. Some may be a lesser than others. You can only strengthen your lesser rival to fight a larger common rival, not so much so that they start threatening your ownself.

    First and foremost Fiat needs to aim at building trust, communication and differentiation in that order. Forget 10000 cars, even if they sell only a 100, they need each of those 100 customers to be envied upon by the rest of the market for the superiority of the product they own, the re-assuring service they get and the trouble free ownership experience they have. Speaking from my personal experience, in the 2 months that I have had owned a Fiat, I can guarantee that if it were not for that genius of a guy I take my car to for managing trouble, I would have sold off my T-Jet. My colleague, who had picked up a Linea MJD roughly at the same time, had an equally unfavourable experience. In short Fiat has to focus on delivering customer delight at any cost, without excuses. If they falter this time round, the Indian market would strike them down with a blow that they cannot recover from.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2012
    2 people like this.
  2. ENKI

    ENKI Esperto

    Who is asking for 1.6 MJD?? You me & a couple of other guys on auto forums.:mrgreen: Do you how that's easily an investment of a 100-200 million of dollars & up-gradation would require (new gearbox, different tuned suspension). 99.99% buyers in India aren't aware that there is any such thing as MJD. Every-one knows Maruti's ddi as best ever diesel. Having said that with only 4000-5000 vehicles monthly sale, not only 1.6 MJD, you may get MJD-2 version 2 ltr, 3 ltr V6 or even 1.735 tbi & twin turbo multiair in an year span & what ever else you ask for. The reason is simple, we Indians don't want all that.

    Everyone can sell their so-so vehicles & they have been doing better than FIAT. How VW is supposed to fail with a fresh start & Fiat still fighting it's demons (for now, i don't see why forever though).
    They look emotional fools as you visualize them, for me it shows how that care & good-will for their customers continues in their cars. They have been through terrible times but they never compromised their vehicles for margins (a slightly lesser shining plastic doesn't make any margin, it's something else i am talking about). No doubt they are fools.

    Did you ever notice in a linea or Punto that you do get more than a car, a message unspoken all the way from friends from ITALY via TASS that only a buyer can understand?? If i were given a chance to craft my own vehicle with all my likings and security aspect, i can't make any thing better than Punto/Linea (i would rather choose a bit better plastic though:?). They envision themselves in their cars first.
    FIAT will continue to be like this buddy, you like it or not!!

    Dear Mods:Kindly move the post to the relevant thread as it appears an OT that i was forced to reply. thanks!
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2012
    1 person likes this.
  3. xplorauto


    Fiat, even in their days of prime, has always been a brand for the elite / knowledgeable population of urban India. HM Ambassador used to be for the masses. In the present times, Maruti and Tata rule the roost in that space and that wont change in a hurry. Brands like VW/Skoda, Ranault/Nissan, Puegot (when it arrives) can only thrive in the mind share of the middle/upper class urban elite. That's the space where Fiat too has to find a spot. It would not be prudent at all to discount the wit and judgement of that audience to be unaware of the fact that a DDiS is MJD or a 1.3 MJD cannot be pitted against a 1.6 CRDi. They understand specs probably more than what that should translate into. That's why the Verna 1.6 Crdi sells more than 1.4. Thats why the Vento highline sells more than the lower variant. This section of buyer is pretty well read to ask for a 1.6 MJD if they have to choose a Linea over a Verna, a Vento or a Rapid.

    If deregulation of diesel really does take place, and diesel looses its perceived value advantage over petrol engines, the competition landscape will see players like Honda, Toyota, and even Suzuki back in the fray with renewed belief. If Fiat continues to behave in the lethargic manner it has in the last 4 years, it would certainly be blown away from the Indian auto market. It not only has to take gutsy measures to launch the best of the breed engines (multi-air / twin-air) and transmissions (dualogic / TCT) but also has to be brisk enough to set their after sales service delivery right because that is where it would face competition from Toyota and Honda.

    That's where business strategy comes in. We see Peugot coming in too after a withdrawal, right? To me they will succeed better than Fiat because they have got their strategy in order. As far as I know Peugeot Citroën is coming solo and have found their home in Gujarat. Like like Volkswagen, Nissan and Renault, Peugeot Citroën will follow a ‘Top Down’ approach in India which means they will bring its niche products followed by mass market models. Most companies that enter a new market follow this approach because it is a safer bet. When an automotive company enters a new market, it is strained for resources. With inadequate dealerships and service centers, targeting the masses can become a handful. Niche products can be easily sold and serviced and act as brand builders. As the brand becomes stronger and the presence of the company is increased over the years, the company attains a stronger position to target masses. Going into segments on higher levels also provides less headaches as the competition is relatively low. Fiat tried a big bang with Tata hoping to garner huge volumes at the word go. That greed is what did them in.

    That's how a Fiat lover/enthusiast would view the brand not an unbiased informed urban auto buyer.

    Then God save Fiat!!!

    P.S. I don't think that the posts are veering off topic. To me the moot point that is being stated here is that Diesel prices might not strike as much of a death blow to the fortunes of Fiat India as other aspects of the company itself. Mods can take a call.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2012
  4. ENKI

    ENKI Esperto

    Nope dear, that's an illusion. FIAT Group is way too big & strong now, doesn't matter how worse the situation become in India & many other countries. They can easily continue even if they are losing money but that's not the point.

    When i say that they are destined to be successful & that's too in very near future, Are you surprised?
    They will be successful, let me explain you, why.

    I think 2012 Linea & Punto is FIAT's last take on Indian market. Manufacturing plant is ready for Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/Alfa Romeo. They are working on building the dealerships across India already. For next 2 yrs, they will be working on to strengthen their network with 50-60 dealers for these new products.

    I think they will wait till mid 2013 to check if Indian customer is willing to give a 2nd opportunity or not. In case not successful, they will eliminate FIAT's name from Indian market with re-badged Chrysler/Dodge/Alfa Romeo/Jeep. Like 2013 new Linea's & Punto's badged as Chrysler/dodge along with other niche products like Jeep/Alfa Romeo/Dodge dart for C-D segments. Even the small car specially developed for India by FIAT could be badged as Chrysler only. That's why i think it's launch is postponed. Be assured that new generation FIAT/Chrysler products are nightmares for competitors.

    Jeep/Chrysler/Alfa Romeo/Dodge will bang upper cut right under the chins of those Korean/Chinese/Japanese automakers & won't even let them cry. They will eat them slowly with a fresh start in India & being very popular across the world (especially USA).

    That why they have postponed all their new launches till late 2013. I would call it a very sane decision as at present all new highly capable products will be wasted because of "avoidance of FIAT" by Indian customer. Once launched under FIAT badge, re-badging later doesn't make sense.

    When above things are happening, is it wrong to continue with TATA?? People criticize it a lot but isn't it a very good platform where they got dealers/service centers/supply/chain in no time & more than Enough of resources to sell at a decent number. They are 4th best today in 30-40 automakers when it comes to resources & people criticizing this JV. Doesn't it make sense now? They exactly know what they are doing.

    We are just digging too much & making it so trivial "why FIAT is not selling". I think it's as simple as it sounds. People are not ready to give them another chance. For rural area which is 90% of market actually, CAR is pretty much like house (one or two time investment for majority of buyers). No body would like to take any chance just like a house. Don't you see Punto/Linea quite often in Metros but not so in remote areas. People in Metros are realizing that FIAT's after-sales are pretty much OK at TASS & it is showing. but in rural market, people don't want even 0.01% of risk which is the volume market actually. A car is too big an investment here for lower middle class who may keep it for 10-15 yrs.

    Hyundai has many more reasons for selling more 1.6 than 1.4, if we talk about FIAT, it's a different story altogether. Look how SX4 is selling with same 1248 Cc. Actually during Palio era, FIAT India was not a problem. Real problem was FIAT international that was just playing like dolls in hands of GM. FIAT India was performing strongly from 2000-2003 with average of 5000-6000 Palios/month. But due to FIAT international issues, they couldn't localize the components & imports were stopped due to no cash reserves. There were too many Palio's on the road by that time. It was a premium hatchback those days & sold like hot cakes for first 3 yrs. Dealers were too overloaded with maintenance issues & FIAT India's condition was pitiful. How could such a volume be supported without any spares??
    Forget about a plant to manufacture the spares, they didn't have enough money to pay rent for FIAT INDIA Website!!
    This could be the worst tactical move of automobile history in India by any manufacturer. were the FIAT international financial condition be just OK that time (not even healthy), today FIAT would have been in better position than Hyundai or even than Maruti. Dealers soon forfeited doubting FIAT's fate, customers were left stranded. It cost them a huge market of India. If some how those 3-4 yrs could be UN-done, FIAT has to be one of the top three in India today.

    @mods: Kindly move all these posts to "Why is it that only Fiat is cursed about bad quality why not others". It's just a suggestion if feels appropriate to you.
    3 people like this.
  5. gurjinder

    gurjinder Staff Member Janitor

    A very heavy discussion going on around here. :helmet

    I've moved the thread to Hangout. So, discuss freely, albeit within reasonable limits.

  6. xplorauto


    I was finding it hard to make an overall sense of your view point initially and zero in on the specific points of our disagreement. After a few passes of read thru I managed to sum up your response in two parts and realized we were more in agreement on the issue rather than in opposition.

    Absolutely dude!!! We are in agreement here and its indeed not difficult to spot a pattern in the slew of measures being adopted by Fiat SpA lately. Please take a look at this post of mine in another thread and you would realize why I endorse your viewpoint as well. In fact I went on a step ahead to suggest what in my view should be their product strategy and action plan from here on

    Again I largely agree with your individual observations here as it seems you too are indicating a failure on Fiats strategy as a cause of their debacle, but I haven't quite been able to figure out why you thought a 1.6 MJD would not be appreciated by the potential Fiat class buyers as a stronger alternative than the current 1.3 MJD when pitted against a 1.6 CRDi of fluidic Verna or the 1.5 TDi of Vento / Rapid. Nevertheless, to draw from your comment on Fiats failure to service Palios due to dealer overload, it infact strengthens my argument that Fiat made a strategic blunder by not adopting a Top-down product strategy then (re-entry to Indian market) as it has repeated now again with the Tata JV strategy. Everything else has been a side effect of that erroneous decision.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2012
  7. ENKI

    ENKI Esperto

    I am not in total disagreement on 1.6. Personally, I would love to trade in my Punto 90 HP with 1.6 Linea any time & many others will do that & It may support the existing sales of Linea to 1000-1500 units. Is someone expecting more than this figure? I hope not. Even bigger question is how long this paltry sales figure could be sustained? A true GEM of an engine will be wasted, take my words.
    Having said that i assure you that you will get your 1.6/2.0 Mjd by 2014 (albeit "could be in some FIAT's sister").
    If FIAT is in INDIA today, you be rest assured that they are here for people like you only & not for an average buyer.

    Mate, that's one sour pill that FIATians are not ready for, but it's reality. For me it is as hurting as it gets if FIAT gets eliminated from Indian automobile sector. But life is that cruel.

    More-over, if some-how people would be educated to the point that Ferrari is from FIAT's stable, do you think FIAT's image will become of a best automaker in INDIA?? Just think on it.

    No, I think FIAT's image will be continue to be same but it's Ferrari's reliability & after sales that will be questioned afterwards:A!!

    I would love to be "wrong" on all my above statements & apologize to every FIATian, but i am so scared of an average Indian buyer.
  8. xplorauto


    That may be true for now but Fiat lovers and enthusiasts @ TFI, who would choose the Linea with its current 1.3 MJD over corresponding competition, constitute a minuscule section of the country's auto market, barely significant to make a difference to the mind share of auto buyers here in this country let alone contributing to its paltry sales figures. Its not that the 1.3 MJD has no takers. Its just that they are very few in that section of auto buyers who would consider a Linea or Vento or a Rapid or even the Verna. To my mind, leaving the brand to languish with products that cannot match up to the better spec'd offerings from competitors, would strike the real death blow to Fiat for it could be easily construed by the auto market at large that the Italian auto maker does not have a road map for this country. So it is imperative that, Fiat needs to keep moving ahead with significant product upgrades, and not those that are merely cosmetic corrections in the mind of most neutral buyers. That's where the 1.6 MJD (at least the FGT) is so very important to the Linea and important right now till as long as the diesel subsidy lasts. It is possible that the engine would not garner the traction it should, but it can still let the Italian giant stay relevant in the minds of the Indian auto buyers for the next couple of years. In the meanwhile if diesel as a fuel were to loose its sheen as a result of hefty surcharges levied on it, I would imagine it would be sort of a blessing in disguise for fiat as it has the T-Jet to compete with then in that segment.

    As for the GP, 1.3 MJD with VGT is just fine. Its just that the ASS FUD (Fear / Uncertainty / Doubt) turns out to be the the leading dissuasive aspect. Thats why the other critical dimension that Fiat has to change in the short term to stay relevant would be to open up at least one Fiat branded ASS referral center in the top 5 metros to start with possibly extending to the cities where Fiat has sold most in the last 4 years. That would be so much re-assuring to a large chunk of prospective buyers who would consider a Fiat.

    I dont know if TFI has any real influence on Fiat India with its review comments but if we do that's where I feel we need to pull up our socks and be more pragmatic in our feedback. Our opinion needs to be honest, candid, neutral and more importantly representative of how the larger audience of auto buyers would perceive those aspects that we are commenting on. Its important that we call a spade a spade and not get enamored by little fringe benefits from Fiat. For instance, I for one found no reason what so ever to hail the 2012 models with such enthusiasm. To me the changes incorporated in those models were merely corrections, and not face-lifts, which put simply are basic health and hygiene necessities for Fiat. Both the cars needed some major overhauls as it had been 4 years since their respective launches. GP needed to be replaced with the EVO and the 1.6 MJD needed to introduced in the Linea. For a neutral buyer, its not very encouraging to find that Fiat is still running models of a product which have been replaced else where 3 years back. All these aspects have a significant impact on the buying decision of a neutral buyer.

    True!!! that's where I feel, the caffe initiative was unnecessary. To the section of buyers who consider brands other than Maruti and Tata, product knowledge of a dealer's sales executive has hardly any significance in influencing his/her buying decision. Most are well read and most do their home work pretty well before they decide on a car. All Fiat needs for sales conversion are to have credible endorsers in the media and a test drive from the TATA dealers who are largely very cooperative in that respect. So, to me Fiat owned referral ASS centers are far more important in the current scheme of things rather than Fiat Caffes, so much so that it is possible that associating a Ferrari or a Maserati with Fiat though their caffe initiative at the moment could prove to be detrimental to the prospects of those legendary brands in this country
  9. ENKI

    ENKI Esperto

    X-Plore, i pray to almighty that some one influential at FIAT India is reading this forum. Even if Diesel subsidy ends, FIAT has maintained equal leader ship in Petrol engines.

    1. The worse decision at present is "not to launch company fitted CNG variants". I liked the concept at 2010 auto Expo where CNG kit was fitted underneath the body instead of chocking the boot.

    2. FIAT's engine are specially tuned & heads are forged right at the time of manufacturing keeping alternate fuel (CNG) into mind. Their engines across Europe & Brazil are famous for not loosing the fun factor when powered on CNG & don't experience any power/torque loss. It's indistinguishable from a petrol one actually.

    3. Bring twin-air turbo (85 HP@5500, 155 NM@2000) with 26 Km/Ltr consumption (combined for city & highway) & fit that in a Punto with CNG option. CNG tends to improve mileage (if Ltr is equivalent to kg) by 15-20%. That would give at least a tentative combined figure of 30 Km/Ltr with CNG version. It will sell like hot cake in these times (even if FIAT image is bad). That option would be too tempting & unique at present in market for people who are looking for Petrol.

    4. That is a unique alternative for the people who are tilting towards Diesel just because of fuel costs.

    FIAT INDIA, Pls start working on the above project if you want to keep FIAT name alive in Indian market.
    1 person likes this.
  10. Relativity

    Relativity Superiore

    any updates on this whole thing, kinda confused whether to rush and buy the MJD before the budget or to wait for the all new 90 HP, rumor has it that the Sports version will be launched in April.

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