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Will Fiat exclusive dealerships help improve Fiat Sales?

Discussion in 'Fiat India News' started by amit, Mar 24, 2011.

  1. amit

    amit Superiore

    Navi Mumbai
    It's now a open secret that Fiat wants to have their own exclusive dealerships and that they are in fact pushing for the same. We have heard and read the demands from people that one way for Fiat to increase sales is by opening Fiat only dealerships but my question is :

    Will Fiat exclusive dealerships really help in improving Fiat sales?

    Let's first take a look at the reasons why Fiat had to open dealerships with Tata dealers.

    - Fiat was a dead brand. No businessman would invest crores in a Fiat dealership (most even now will not!) despite two extremely good cars being in the pipeline.

    - Fiat was never on the radar of the car buying public. What helped Linea and Punto was that these cars were parked in a Tata showroom and shared space with Indica's and Indigo's. A lot of people came to know that cars like Linea and Punto are avaliable in the market simply because they were standing next to Vista's and Manza's. Not only did this give people confidence to buy these cars but it also helped these cars get the exposure in prospective car buyer's eyes. We cannot deny the fact that there must have been some people who switched from Indigo to Punto or Linea base models.

    - For very little investment, Fiat managed to get about 130 dealerships across the country in little time. Imagine the investment of time , resources & money if they had to open 130 Fiat exclusive dealerships across India. Do remember, this not only got them showroom floor but also service bay's and service network with readymade infrastructure for servicing their cars.

    It sure looks like Fiat knew they had no standing in the market here and there was no way they could sell the Linea and Punto initially without the support of a established brand.

    So back to the original question:

    Will Fiat exclusive dealerships actually help in improving Fiat sales?

    - We don't know how the Fiat dealerships will be set up. I have been saying this and I still do. Go the way VW-Audi have dealerships in USA & Canada. Same building, separate enterences with insides separated to give the feeling of being in separate dealerships. Of course, the interiors of the showroom will be different to showcase the two brands. What this will do is give Fiat their exclusive dealership yet keep it close to a Tata one. Even if someone doesn't want a Fiat he will still enter the Fiat zone. After all how tough is it to walk out of one door, take five steps to your right or left , turn and enter through another door to the Fiat side!

    - Many people still don't know the existence of cars like Linea and Punto. Most of the ones that do, still don't consider them before buying. These are the biggest stumbling blocks to Fiat sales. Even after sharing Tata's showroom floor, Fiat hasn't been able get themselves considered in the prospective car buyer's minds, how then do they plan to change that with Fiat dealerships?

    - How will Fiat dealerships be set up? Fiat needs to know the average age of their buyers. My wild guess would be the age group 25 to 45 go for Fiat's. The dealerships has to be designed to appeal to this age group. There has to be a energy, a zing in a Fiat dealership. Easier said then done when you sell 1500 cars every month and could go days without seeing a customer!

    Most of the forums make it sound like Fiat dealerships are like some magic wand that will suddenly make Fiat sales zoom. The problem of Fiat's low sales are way more deeper then just not having their own dealerships. Nothing is going to happen overnight and this creates a problem. A BIG problem.

    Forums all over will again go ablaze with talks of how even Fiat only dealerships have not improved sales and talks of Fiat is doomed will start again. The average joe will log on read such threads and decide not to buy a Fiat. The whirlpool of low sales will only continue.

    TeamFiat.co.in throws open the question to all it's members.

    Will Fiat exclusive dealerships actually help improving Fiat sales?
  2. fiatlover

    fiatlover Esperto

    Grande Punto 1.4
    Well, I dont know as to how own dealership would be. But a strong marketing advertising campaign would definitely help boost he sales. I think it would little matter who sells the car, whether FIAT themselves or TATA. What matters is the after sales service. This is what most people complain about.

    Look at how VW launched polo. First they set up their own dealeship network, just 2-3 dealers in each city. Jetta and Passat were already there in the market, but the target customers were different. Then there is a flurry of advertisements, saying "we are coming to serve your car needs". Not denying the fact that image that VW had helped them when intorducing the new model. Months after, a series of ads in all the media, along with dealership details, comes the car. And people welcome it with both hands as if that is the car people were waiting for.

    This is what is missing in FIAT. A strong and consistent ad/marketing campaign. Just highlighting 15k kms service intervals or the admiration you would get may not work. Confidence of the prospective buyer is of prime importance. Until FIAT instills confidence, own dealership is of no use. As of now it's like saying "we are here with two great cars, it's your choice whether to buy or not". Probably FIAT should tell buyers how FIAT cars are different from other cars in the market. The only advantage of FIAT's own dealership i think would be that the step-motherly attitude that TATA sales people have towards FIAT wont be there.
  3. sid_10000

    sid_10000 Regolare

    I think a separate dealership and service network should be on FIAT's cards right now. I think a phased approach would be best suited for fiat's needs.

    The marketing gurus at fiat should identify the areas where fiat's sales are better then the rest and set up priority customer relationship centers. The function of these centers should be to attract new customers and showcase what fiat has to offer (presently and in days to come).

    Service centers can be shared with TATA but with separate enterences and separate bays separated by physical partitions to show exclusivity. FIAT should go all out on marketing and advertizing their products. Better print ads, better radio / video ads etc. There are loads of companies that target the niche customers by setting up camps inside companies (in IT companies / parks) and showcase products, offer TD and gather feedback.

    Feedback collected from new customers can be used to make the products more enticing. Add offers , additional free servicing, additional maintainance warranty, exchange bonus, corporate discounts can be the usual ploys.
  4. fiatlover

    fiatlover Esperto

    Grande Punto 1.4
    In the companies, that I worked in the last few years, I didnt see a single campaign from FIAT. I had seen campaigns from marutis GM, VW, TATA, Honda, Ford, Mitsubishi, Mahindra etc, and not a single one from FIAT. :(. To see a FIAT I should go to the dealer and check if I want. There is a saying in English, "If you dont pick and choose, others will". This is what is happening now. Before FIAT reaches potential buyers, other car makers do it.
  5. gurus

    gurus Amatore

    Good thread amit...
    First of all, I'm mighty inspired with the way Fiat is trying to re-enter India with the bad name it had....
    It is trying to impress people and take away the negative image it had...
    But they are not aggressive in thier approach...

    I think so far, they succeded only 10-15 %.

    What I expect from new showrooms?

    -Have a big showroom to accomodate atleast 3 puntos and lineas each...
    -Have wi-fi - Target audience might be happy if they have this...
    -Have 2 TVs 1 showing Fiat history and one for family(cartoons, news etc)
    -Have notice board displaying FIAT achievements including international awards
    -Train SA's about Punto and Linea's features...they should be able to highlight FIAT advantages over its competitors(Polo, i20, Jazz etc)
    -May be FIAT should ask dealership to have regular meet with TFI members...If they have some questions about cars, our members can help.
    -Have a team dedicated for service related issues. This should be something like spot checking..they should visit TASS and see how FIAT cars are handled. If a customer is not satisfied with service they should call Fiat customer care who inturn will call this team to send to the dealership for customer handling..this will help customer avoid direct fight with TASS and everything should go through this team...
    -This place should have enough required spares...Remove 100% dependency on Pune...

    These are the few things I thought of...These points may or may not be applicable in today's case..Just thought...
  6. Ravi

    Ravi Staff Member Janitor

    Grande Punto 1.3
    I feel Yes, it will improve sales, but not by big margin for existing Punto and Linea cars. It will certainly help for future small car.

    The exclusive dealership Tata-Fiat is planning will be kind of separate building or separate entry in same building with existing Tata dealership. Fiat can't and will not have any separate or say independent dealers. So buyer's experience is not going to be too much different from current situation.

    However, this step, along with Fiat Boutique in major cities, will certainly enhance the brand value. More buyers will be knowing Fiat brand, and this is most important for their up-coming small car for India. This step will also give a sense of exclusiveness Fiat owners would like to have, than existing Tata brand association.
  7. amit

    amit Superiore

    Navi Mumbai
    Two suggestions I have for a Fiat dealership to have:

    - Give your prospective car buyer a long drive of about 30 mins. Fiat's forte is an invovling drive. Make sure your prospective customer understands that and make sure the drive invovles a run on the highway to showcase the Punto & Linea's high speed stability and ride and handing. Of course, the sales person will have to point these features out clearly. Most buyer's wouldn't even notice this!

    - Alongwith a brochure, give a CD to every walk in. We cant' depend on sales persons' to talk everything about Fiat. The CD should contain details of Fiat and their cars avaliablie abroad. Also, it should have features on Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Masaerati , Ferrari and even Iveco! Load the CD up with wallpaper's, engine sounds, games , walk through of Punto & Linea, international video reveiws of their car's including Ferrari's and Masaerati review's. Fiat have more then 100 years of history to talk about, the CD can be one loaded one!
  8. Klub Class

    Klub Class Amatore

    Grande Punto 1.3
    To include all the stuffs you've mentioned, Fiat should at least give a Dual Layer DVD. ::D
  9. royj

    royj Esperto

    Good analysis Amit. I fully agree to it. The problem with Fiat is that they have not captured the mind of the average Indian car buyer. He may choose anything between an Indica and a City but leave out Punto and Linea. Exclusive dealerships are NOT going to help without Fiat doing something to capture the mind share.
    There was an interesting post on another thread in TFI on capturing the mind share, just don't remember where.
  10. vIjAy_kHaSa

    vIjAy_kHaSa Esperto

    Exclusive Fiat dealerships will help in the long run, it would not double the sales overnight.
    It will help in improving User Experience of customers. You won't see a taxi driver with shabby cloths in a Fiat exclusive showrooms like you do in a Tata Showroom.
    No matter if Fiat exclusive or Tata Fiat showroom most important is quality sales person who know what they are selling.

    They also need to do something about Customer Lounge in their Service Center. Taxi drivers are all over the sofas sleeping and talking on loud speaker of their super loud Chinese phones with their shoes removed and stink of them all over in the lounge.

    Marketing of Fiat have improved in last few days, I see Punto 90 HP and T Jet ads on all channels in every break. Even in newspaper I see Fiat ads.

    Instead of Fiat exclusive showrooms they can do something like Tata-Fiat premium showroom which have premium cars from Tata and Fiat like Aria, Linea, Punto.

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