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Interesting Read :Fiathful?

Discussion in 'Fiat India News' started by Justin Das, Mar 27, 2012.

  1. I have this smashing line that impresses many people and also gives them a vague idea that I have a profound insight into the Indian automotive business. And it especially works when ad agency types come to seek my opinion on the industry before they make a pitch to get the carmaker's communication business.




    I tell them: If there are two brands in India – and I mean all sorts of brands across categories – that people are passionate enough to tattoo their bodies with their logos, it is Fiat and Royal Enfield. The believers will willingly wear their passion for these two brands on their skin. But, especially in case of Fiat, that does not translate into market success, unfortunately.
    Here is a brand that has a bunch of hardcore fans that no Hyundai or Honda can summon, but despite its presence in India for so many years, sells a fraction of what either of do. I am sure Hyundai or Honda - or for that matter, any other car brand - will give a suspension arm or some other body part to get that kind of a fan following. So what ails Fiat in India?
    It certainly can't be the Premier heritage; that excuse was valid a decade back. Not anymore. So is it the product? Well, according to many people, and not just blind enthusiasts, Fiat cars hit the right spots when it comes to design, dynamics and solidity. They also have decent level of kit and are pretty good value for money. Both the Punto and Linea are successful in Europe but in India, despite having a killer diesel engine, don't exactly fly out of showroom windows.
    There are several reasons why Fiat hasn't done well. One, they may make a beautiful product, but I doubt it if the people who build them at Ranjangaon give it the kind of attention other manufacturers give to their products. Other carmakers say quality, quality, quality – so much so that its ingrained into the system right down to the worker on the assembly line. I wonder if Fiat does that. Consequently, there are niggles that Fiat owners face: something is coming apart or someone's AC refuses to chill. And then the owner takes it to the service centre, where he is let down again. The problem is either not resolved or the service is lackadaisical. Then of course there is the legendary deal between Tata and Fiat; if you go to buy a Fiat, the salesman tries pushing a Vista instead.
    Essentially, a Fiat is desirable, but there is no guarantee of peace of mind to the prospective owner. Many of our Which Car? questions echo this sentiment: 'I'd like to buy a Fiat, but I am worried about sales and service.' Today, no carmaker can afford to make cars that are unreliable and create dissatisfaction with the ownership experience. By doing so, Fiat is giving its customers away to its competitors, who are aggressive, make reliable and efficient cars, make the owner feel good about his decision, and when the time comes to replace his car, give him full value for the investment he made a few years back.
    Whenever we have a comparison between cars in the respective segments, people comment on these very pages: What, no Punto?! What, no Linea?! We say: What's the point? Even if we look at product vs product and a Fiat wins, will the reader go out and buy it? Even if we say that Fiat is trying hard to get its act together?
    This uncertainty in the mind of the prospective customer is proving to be too costly for Fiat and if they are serious about doing business in India, they should remove this uncertainty. Merely giving a bottle of champagne free to anybody who buys a Linea is not going to do the trick. The hangover starts once the champagne bottle is empty.
    Fiat should pay attention to the cars it makes. It cannot afford to be complacent about quality. It needs to radically overhaul its distribution network. It needs to make the ownership experience flawless. It needs to keep the customer away from the service centre as far as possible. And this is all hard work and a change in mindset – the Italians could learn a thing or two from the Japanese and the Koreans.
    I love Fiats. Even today, a Punto turns my head – no other hatchback does that. And the T-Jet is a hoot to drive. But will I put my money on either of them? Fiat should be earnest and try really hard to convince me to do so. And a host of other Indians who would willingly tattoo that beautiful logo on their arms but won't put their money on the cars.

    Link:Fiathful?
    2 people like this.
  2. singh

    singh Amatore

    Messages:
    147
    Mohali
    Good to read , i Bought Punto Even when i know about all ASS discussions or niggles and really enjoying the exclusivity, every other car is Swift or Figo , it takes a long wait to see the Italian Beauty. All Fiat owners share a smile while crossing each other and this feeling of being in Fiat Brotherhood is amazing . I am sure no other car has such impact .
    Be it any manufacturer he will suffer for part availability at one point or other , No single car is without Niggles , some have poor AC , some are under equipped . Nissan has just 19 dealers all across india still Micra and Sunny are selling over 6000 a month . I dont think people care about ASS , The times of Palio actually killed Fiat In India , Palio spares used to sell on black (even 2nd hand), that thing is scary than any Niggles or issue . Now Punto-vista-manza-linea have many common parts and can be put anytime , even basic parts are available OTC like filters and AC repairing .

    How one can expect the SE to convince someone to buy car ? Customer going to look for punto and up buying vista , means he deserve vista and not punto .
    Etios and Liva , good to drive no doubt but u have to see interiors all time and it feels like to be in 1985 car , still people running in sheep circle .
    Well this Uncertainty will take a long time and it may never end , still i will buy a product based on overall Scores and not word of mouth . Everyone has priorities for some its ASS for some something else. Set your priority level and be satisfied , dont be in comparisons .
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 29, 2012
    2 people like this.
  3. theblack

    theblack Esperto

    Messages:
    2,188
    Bangalore
    Rightfully put. i've been doing trips to my service center so many times that sometimes I dont even need to raise a request to get my car checked.
    Not that there are so many things wrong (well there aren't) but just that FIAT makes me think twice about every small issue.
    Having said that do i really care?, yes a bit
    Would this stop me from buying another FIAT?, HELL NO

    So what did I like?
    Well FIATs are like classics they dont need to tell anyone that they have arrived. People will get to know and that's FIAT.
    One can TD any car on Indian roads today, If you forget the beamers, mercs, audi, I dont think any car today will give the satisfaction and guarantee that the drive is going to be safe when you sit inside and i think thats the best part.

    I'm not going to make a BOLD statement but FIAT is something that one needs to get used to. Its not one of those off the shelf pastry that looks good but tastes like crap. Its like an award tucked away in a corner of that same cake shop ... No one really notices its there but should one see it, they will realize the full potential of the whole sweet shop itself..

    I love my FIAT

    ---------- Post added at 11:56 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:55 PM ----------

    Rightfully put. i've been doing trips to my service center so many times that sometimes I dont even need to raise a request to get my car checked.
    Not that there are so many things wrong (well there aren't) but just that FIAT makes me think twice about every small issue.
    Having said that do i really care?, yes a bit
    Would this stop me from buying another FIAT?, HELL NO

    So what did I like?
    Well FIATs are like classics they dont need to tell anyone that they have arrived. People will get to know and that's FIAT.
    One can TD any car on Indian roads today, If you forget the beamers, mercs, audi, I dont think any car today will give the satisfaction and guarantee that the drive is going to be safe when you sit inside and i think thats the best part.

    I'm not going to make a BOLD statement but FIAT is something that one needs to get used to. Its not one of those off the shelf pastry that looks good but tastes like crap. Its like an award tucked away in a corner of that same cake shop ... No one really notices its there but should one see it, they will realize the full potential of the whole sweet shop itself..

    I love my FIAT
  4. Herbie

    Herbie Regolare

    Messages:
    290
    Bombay
    Grande Punto 1.4
    a very good read :)

    ---------- Post added at 09:57 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:46 AM ----------

    its all about QUALITY CONTROL at the factory. I dont know who does the shoddy work at the quality control dept including the quality control for the component suppliers. Thats one major grey area which FIAT officials need to look.(its no rocket science)
    Quality shall speak for itself and win back customer confidence over a period of time and the same spreads through word of mouth publicity and reviews (not much media publicity expense required by FIAT) , and eventually many more ppl wud be intersted in opening/maintaining FIAT dealerships if they see a decent customer base building up.

    ---------- Post added at 10:05 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:57 AM ----------

    i know tats been said umpteen number of times ;) ...... but why the hell FIAT is still sleeping over it.... the management is just proving themselves to be a GLORIFIED VERSION OF GOVENMENT BABBUS with regards to making it happen. ( i mean the pace of it)
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2012
  5. Tony

    Tony Esperto

    Messages:
    2,048
    Kalamboli, Navi Mumbai
    Kuwait
    Grande Punto 1.2
    Fiat is a name when you talk to others they get the picture of Padmini (Taxi), and take the step back, as they think the company has been closed down and will again close down soon.. really dumb people in the ________?
    they know the facts that MJD engines are been adopted by the Swift/Desire/Ritz-Diesel/SX4-Diesel, But they ignore it.
    I have also heard people saying yeah its Tata's car called FIAT. At the same time responded and gave them a full class, Thats the time they realized FIAT.
    I really luv my Grande Punto, you will never feel safe in any other car at high speed, You cannot even feel the sturdiness at high speed in Corolla as Linea.
  6. People who know about Fiat truly will buy it rest are really scared of it. Fiat has two beautiful cars in its stable and there is no doubt about it..but... its the inside that matters to Indians the most. All my friends are amazed by Fiats look from outside. As soon as they step in, the feel the cheaper plastics and decide not to buy it.. I have seen Polo's at my office now, trust me all members would sit inside and say 'what a car' even without driving it. The inner plastics need to change first that would solve half the problem and attract buyers.
    1 person likes this.
  7. singh

    singh Amatore

    Messages:
    147
    Mohali
    I expected low quality plastics in Punto , and to be very unbiased Fiat plastics are not bad , and its design is still much better than Polo, Figo, Fabia , thay have good quality than Fiat , it doesn't mean that Fiat has bad quality. People rely(many nowdays) on TEAM-BHP reviews , i too liked those but now they also seems to have COUGH-COUGH relations with manufacturers . If they say that Polo has better quality than Fiat than people assume that fiat has bad quality . It may not be that good as Polo or i20 but not bad as ALTO .
    Etios may have 10 times better quality than Polo but how one can digest the design , But see people are crazy .
    And i dont like here that after few days someone comes up with manipulated TOPIC OF PLASTIC AND AFTER SALES SERVICE. Give some listening to your heart also than Brain only.
  8. kaps

    kaps Superiore

    Messages:
    673
    Arakkonam
    I think the problem started right at the launch, the way it kept getting postponed. I know a few people who waited for Linea launch, got tired of waiting and bought Honda. The mistrust started right then. This was followed by post launch killing of product by paid journalism. In 2009, when Linea was launched, it was branded as underpowered. That did it for most of the public.

    This was followed by delayed launch of Punto and paid journalism of "bad plastics" and "parts falling off". Due to numerous owner reviews these images of "underpowered" and "bad plastics" was washed to an extent. In Auto Expo 2010, the sight of a totally different creature Punto Sports was a mouth watering prospect. That too did not materialise. Another blow to the trust building.

    After the competitiors realised that the bogey of "underpowered" and "bad plastics" was beginning to wear off, the next bogey was launched, in the form of A.S.S. This is one place where even Fiat has been let down by Tata as well by not looking after existing customers.

    No doubts Fiat has been more than lethargic in countering these bogeys and building a healthy trust relationship with customer base, they can't be faulted for not trying. The latest bogey is being countered by the Cafe concept and Fiat's own showroom/service centers.

    IMHO, it is going to be a long drawn process for Fiat in establishing trust relationship with prospective customers and create a mind space for a future buyer. Existing buyers have been selling Fiat to prospective buyers and will continue to do so, but Fiat needs to understand that there is no hiding away from aggressive media management. Fiat needs an image makeover and cafes in select cities alone will not be able to do that. For a pan India image makeover, an aggressive media management is a must with a carefully crafted campaign that runs like a series.
  9. amit

    amit Superiore

    Messages:
    767
    Navi Mumbai
    VW group cars have always been the benchmark for quality interior's and I would stick my head out and say that the plastics & fit and finish in a Polo are far better then the ones in maybe even a 15 lakh rupee Corolla! That doesn't mean it's okay for Fiat to give dodgy quality interior's, there is surely a LOT of scope for Fiat to improve interior plastics & fittings and sadly, their response to this has been, well, typical Fiat!

    The problem is that the Punto does not beat competition in the engine parameter thanks to the idiotic gear box.

    I had a Palio S10 and didn't like the look of the dashboard plastics when I sat in the car. One twist of the key to turn on the ignition and a few meters of driving it and I didn't care about the interior's. Fiat should have done something similar with the Punto & Linea.
    1 person likes this.

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