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Old 3rd May 2012, 11:52   #46
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Default Re: Fiat revvs away from Tata dealerships. To set up its own distribution network

This will be a good move provided FIAT doesnt think that moving away from TATA will be a panacea for all evils. Exclusive sales and service network will definitely improve visibility that they are seriously lacking now (check Crazydriver's Punto buying episode).

But apart from this they need to introduce products faster at competitive prices - they need to realize that they do not have the brand equity of any of the other manufacturer in India

Chrysler range may help. But they really need a Figo type no-nonsense low priced vehicle below the Punto
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Old 3rd May 2012, 12:09   #47
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Default Re: Fiat revvs away from Tata dealerships. To set up its own distribution network

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Originally Posted by nkrishnap View Post
1) How did you come to a conclusion that its too little too late. FIAT wasted money in getting help with Management consulting group of Accenture. I have personally seen the Management Consulting group of Accenture and they are no idiots. What a waste of money did the people at FIAT do.

The current JV looked very good on paper. when one partner looks to extract the most from the technically superior partner and provide step motherly treatment at the sales itself. Is it not right to rethink the strategies.

2) Linea overpriced. To what are the prices being compared to? is it Dzire, Indigo, alto? There are other cars with lesser equipment and still priced above the Linea and yet they are not overpriced.

3) Its not that FIAT does not have the technology or the capability to get bigger and better engines. What would FIAT want to see a Manza 1.6 MJD? I for one would really hate it. No offense to anybody.

4) Again how did you arrive at FIAT not being serious about India. Just curious to know whether you are Management Consulting or research? if yes, would you please provide more insight as how you arrived at this conclusion.

5) To your question of the quick actions, its not a game to change it overnight. by doing quick changes, if either of the partners take the legal route then be rest assured nothing is gonna change in the years to come knowing our legal system.

6) On the VW thing, did you not read an article last week on how VW is struggling to get more foot falls in the showroom? Its not a rapid growth you require for a year and then everything goes dead.

7) From the current actions of FIAT, they seem to be serious about the markets of China and India. They will step up the speed knowing that they simply cannot ignore these two markets.
1 & 4) Agreed, Accenture is not a joker ( of a company ), my friend is working in Accenture. But how come Fiat is never managed to be successful till date ? Look of a product can kill a product. Baleno rear end, Wagon R, Santro ( which took their own time to become grand success ). Fiat had products like GP and Linea which are generally good looking, specially Linea. Why not success.

Why tie up with TATA ? In the first place itself why did they sign MOU with Tata only ?

Since long I am reading about Fiat and repeatedly there are interviews mentioned in media where Fiat has shown seriousness. Earlier UNO's were there in the helpline, then came palio and still no success. Palio was once having a waiting list, but what happened ?
India gave them good response in Uno ( which was tremendous response for that time ) and then Palio.

Accenture or not, what is practically happening ? Why was the current JV not evaluated earlier with more IDA ? Rethink strategies after suffering so much ?
Remember, Suzuki did ask for higher Fiat support and even had talked for combined plant for diesel engine ( source ACI, read in article ) but Fiat(/tata) did not agree. Now Fiat would be supplying diesel engines to Suzuki.

a) My uncle had palio 1.9 and relatives had S10. Both of them were not happy with A.S & S.
b) Uncle wanted to buy GP, but Fiat fear set in.
c) My friend has Palio, he is always unhappy with service, etc. and right now owns Dzire.
d) I am on marketing research side.
e) My dad's brother lost money in UNO booking. He has 3 maruti cars ( 800, old waggie, new swift diesel ).

2) Equipment, for me ( personal view ) its more about engine and performance. Yes, they do offer equipment, but is that sufficient ?
I expect a Rs. 10/- lakh diesel sedan to be faster than what linea is. Optra diesel might low on equipment, but with almost similar price, one can have optra diesel which is much faster, more spacious and with a better dealer/support network. Dzire, Ertiga and even diesel SX4 manage to be faster than diesel linea.

3) Then why not bigger diesel motors ? why only Tjet ? Ford Fiesta classic ( 1.6 )offers similar dynamics to Linea, has better dealer/support network and is fun to drive. The new diesel Fiesta ( though overpriced ) has better refinement and better performance at almost same price.

5) Prevention is better than cure. Fiat should have thought of this before. Tata was never known to offer good A.S & S., still Fiat preferred Tata. Thats not the point, point is from now on, how quick can Fiat be. Fiat-Suzuki alliance could have helped IMO even on a more global level. VW bought Suzuki shares mainly for India market ( but VW smartly mentioned Asia-Pacific region ).

6) VW have built a brand and entered into a buyers radar. That is one thing we cannot ignore. Regarding falling footfalls, VW pricing seems to have gone in overconfident mode. Overpriced Vento is dangerously close to Cruze ( lower spec ). VW might be losing Vento business to Rapid ( which is doing rather good ). Jetta again is priced in SUV terriorty and superb is also there from Skoda.
But at the end of the day, VW is now much better known than Fiat in much less amount of time. Fiat is not alien to Indian market. They should have learnt from 800-decimating-Padmini days. There was a lot of scope to learn and come up in better shape.

7) Same as above, Fiat was there in Indian market for long, should have leanrt much more and acted more smartly. A south Korean major set the pace for crdi tech in less than rs. 10/- lakh segment ( viva ), Maruti carried forward it in small cars. Fiat did anything ? That was raises serious doubt. Fiat is in fact one of the main pioneers of CRDI tech. They have so many innovations but we are yet to even get Multiair.

Just to clarify my view of VFM and not VFM :
VFM cars : Dzire, Fiesta Classic, SX4 petrol, Ritz, City, Brio, ( & most of maruti small cars ), Xylo, Optra, Cruze ( lower spec )
NON VFM : Toyota Innova, Fortuner, Corolla, Civic, Vento, Fluence, diesel sX4, polo ( we get 3 cyld ? )..the list is quite long .

Last edited by aaggoswami : 3rd May 2012 at 12:13.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 12:09   #48
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Default Re: Fiat revvs away from Tata dealerships. To set up its own distribution network

As a FIAT owner, I really don't know if this is good or bad news. What happens to current owners in the near future before the new dealerships are setup ? Will the current TATA dealerships continue to give attention to FIAT owners? I was quite happy with my service center but now I'm confused.

I will be in the running for a new car in about 10 months and, frankly, from the current cars available in the market, the Linea is the only one that I like but now I'm not sure if I will go for it or not. I'm not a brand loyalist but the fact of the matter is that the Linea is a good car and offers much more bang for the buck than VW, Honda, Ford and the others.

FIAT needs to launch more products in the market, market heavily, track inventory better and focus on their existing customers. Contrary to what people think, I don't think Indian market is a mature market. Except for Maruti, Hyundai, TATA and Mahindra, no other manufacturer has a good brand recall. It's all about getting the customers in and then giving them a decent product. FIAT atleast has the brand recall, albeit a negative one. That needs to change.

Last edited by sharninder : 3rd May 2012 at 12:13. Reason: Added more detail
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Old 3rd May 2012, 12:14   #49
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Default Re: Fiat revvs away from Tata dealerships. To set up its own distribution network

I think people here are expecting some sort of revolution to happen with Fiat going it alone, earlier versions of the Fiat sales and service network are a good reference point as to what they will manage on their own. Fiat never had a reputation for quality service, their cars appeal to a miniscule percentage of car buyers, even fewer of whom are willing to risk their money to experience TASS.

The Tata-Fiat JV has been a whipping boy long enough, Fiat should have never expected Tata to sell their cars, Tata was looking for a good technology partner to replace their stone age tech and the MJD delivered on that count. Tata dealerships are not supposed to be a premium experience, they give you the largest sofa for the best price, not a Lazyboy at a discount. Tata customer put up with that mostly because their priorities are space, low cost spares and cheaper initial cost - Tata delivers on all counts.

Fiat concentrated on selling European cars at a premium - low interior space, heavy steering etc., I know the driving experience is superior, but if you haven't figured out after more than a decade that its not what the buyer wants, its hard to have anything more than a toe hold in the market. The new dealers would have a tough time getting manpower. The effect of this move will be known in about a year's time, I hope Fiat doesn't manage to be another Skoda.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 12:27   #50
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Default Re: Fiat revvs away from Tata dealerships. To set up its own distribution network

It is good for FIAT. At the least it gives them free hand to position themselves better in India and am sure being here for some time now, they have learnt their lessons. Hope they role out great choices in both petro and diesel, I had really liked their T-jet, but dropped out due to the concerns already expressed by others.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 12:27   #51
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Default Re: Fiat revvs away from Tata dealerships. To set up its own distribution network

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Originally Posted by aaggoswami View Post
1
6) VW have built a brand and entered into a buyers radar. That is one thing we cannot ignore. Regarding falling footfalls, VW pricing seems to have gone in overconfident mode. Overpriced Vento is dangerously close to Cruze ( lower spec ). VW might be losing Vento business to Rapid ( which is doing rather good ). Jetta again is priced in SUV terriorty and superb is also there from Skoda.
But at the end of the day, VW is now much better known than Fiat in much less amount of time. Fiat is not alien to Indian market. They should have learnt from 800-decimating-Padmini days. There was a lot of scope to learn and come up in better shape.
As VW car owner I can vouch for the fact that VW service is one of the worst in the Industry. I am mostly sure that Fiat was far better than them in this apsect with Tata JV. But VW cars atleast in India are of better quality, fit and finish compared to Fiat. My Polo in 2 years of ownership did not have a single major niggle or problem. Also VW has a snob value due to their moderately succefull premium portfolio. Other than may be a Maruti or a Toyota no car manufacturer in India can provide satisfactoy dealer experience to the customer.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 12:31   #52
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Default Re: Fiat revvs away from Tata dealerships. To set up its own distribution network

Official confirmation -

Fiat India
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Old 3rd May 2012, 12:39   #53
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Default Re: Fiat revvs away from Tata dealerships. To set up its own distribution network

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Originally Posted by amtak View Post
I think it is time to kill the brand name FIAT. Do what GM did, kill Opel and bring Chevy; Kill FIAT and bring in Chrysler/Jeep/Lancia brands. Have a low cost model like Datsun.
Kill the brand and desert customers once again? I am sorry but I for one do not think it is really a good IDEA at all. If they do that they'll not be able to even surface again in the market.

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Originally Posted by hrman View Post
Hmm. Fiat finally officially deserts its handful of Indian buyers. Its high time they wound up their business and looked elsewhere. The company is a failure in the Indian market and this only confirms the image of Fiat in India. They need to concentrate more on the plonking the world class 1.3L Multijet diesel engines into more and more hatchbacks (read Honda, toyota) to remain in contention. The day Suzuki commissions its own diesel engine plant, Fiat will be in the doldrums for sure. RIP.
I didn't read anywhere in this thread or in the news that the existing customers' car(s) will not be serviced by the newly set up FIAT dealerships, did I? Setting up their own dealerships will make the supply of spares better for sure. In the current situation, walk into a Tata-FIAT service centre, and ask them how many of each spare of FIAT cars they have in stock. You will be taken aback when you see the numbers! The current JV service centres just don't want to stock FIAT spares.

That being said, I do agree that a new independent dealership network will have its own pros and cons. Non Metro cities MIGHT take a hit. Just might!
FIAT has instilled a lot of confidence in its present customers (atleast 9 out of 10 are a satisfied lot). What FIAT should now do is out-class the JV service quality with their own. This will instill more confidence into the existing customers and the word will spread bringing in more prospect buyers!! Just take an analogy, 5 out of 10 people who buy a Maruthi Suzuki car go for the brand because of the dealership network and the service quality.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vipul_singh View Post
That part made me think: if you look at the Tata-FIAT service centers today, I am fairly confident that more than 50% of the service revenue (from FIAT products, leaving aside the Tata bit) comes from the A178 cars. One of the ways the dealers could sustain themseleves is by increasing / improving the service support to the Palio / Siena till the time FIAT's product strategy eventually takes off.

In short, the Palio should be seen more as an asset by FIAT India (in sustaining dealerships) than as a dead-weight one is forced to carry. After all, it has sold more than the Linea and Punto combined
Bull's Eye! I could not agree more. This is high time FIAT pulls up its socks and starts providing better service and spares supply for the Palios and Sienas. Current Palio and Siena owners may be repeat-business in the name of exchange/loyalty bonuses. You never know!!

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Originally Posted by FastLove View Post
The fact remains that by ensuring there are changes in the way they operate now on , FIAT continues to hold promise to us of bringing in some more amazing products (including Alfa Romeos, Jeep etc.)

FIAT is a global brand and been around since 1899. Our analysis of FIAT cannot be based on March , April 2012 Sales. There is more to a company as old as FIAT than last month or last year sales.

There is a renewed focus towards market in China and India by all leading car brands and it's a step in the direction of growth every manufacturer is taking. Why not FIAT?

I personally see it as a very positive move for Auto enthusiasts and sales numbers are just a matter of time.
+1 to that!
Let's agree that FIAT is not doing well in the Indian market. But as you said, they have enough revenue outside India (Brazil and the likes where they are doing good) and this is definitely a positive move!

Quote:
Originally Posted by aaggoswami View Post
1) Its too late, too little. Sure, Fiat is an old brand with a lot of innovations to its credit. But at the same time, IIRC, they have had their focus renewed many a times for Indian market. The current facility is also a part of that.
The focus is there, but the implementation is missing IMO.

2) The 1.6 MJD. Why has it not landed in India. The linea is looking like an overpriced product with that 1.3. Linea clearly has got the capacity to handle the 1.6 easily. Fiat instead brought TJET. Fiat had sufficient time to observe what diesels can do in Indian market. Their own engine has done a lot, then why the focused Fiat is lacking 1.6 MJD ?
This puts a serious doubt on how serious Fiat is. Its quite some time that the importance of diesel has come up in the Indian market. Fiat again had missed the opportunity.

3) Things have to be quick for Fiat. They cannot gradually make changes and slowly move away from Tata. In the current market scenario, things must be super quick. And please get the spare part channel right this time.
A good example of how to enter and sustain in Indian market : VW. They came in late, but they have made their mark. Fiat is clearly lost in the market despite offering the most dynamically-competent products.
May be they had plans of moving out of the sales JV and wanted to wait to introduce the 1.6MJD.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 12:44   #54
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Default Re: Fiat revvs away from Tata dealerships. To set up its own distribution network

Well, i am not sure if to be happy or scared. My punto is nearly 16 months old and clocked about 26000kms and my next service is nearing. By when is fiat actually going to setup their own service centers? And i fear what happens if i take my car to TASS? I didnt have any major issue with the service. Will i still get same level of service if not more from TASS? What if they feel that as Fiat is not associated with Tata, they might not care. I ll be cautiously using my car andtry to use lesser till further newscomes up. I wish Fiat the best and i love my punto and hope they will do the right thing.

By the way i also found this link- not sure if its already shared...

fiat-india.com/newsdetails.aspx?nid=77

Last edited by punto_ : 3rd May 2012 at 12:48.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 13:07   #55
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Default Re: Fiat revvs away from Tata dealerships. To set up its own distribution network

As said by sharninder, the fellow TBHPian, as a FIAT owner, I too really don't know if this is good or bad news. Take a serious look at the official announcement and you can see the FIAT management is

"Fiat and Tata have agreed that, in order to further develop the Fiat brand in India, management control of Fiat’s commercial and distribution activities will be handed over to a separate Fiat Group owned company."

This is the opening statement of the press release. Absolutely mum about "service". Your natural assumption would be that TATA will continue to service the FIAT vehicles till you read this:
"Tata Motors will hand over the distribution and service responsibility for Fiat cars in India to a Fiat Group owned company being formed for this purpose."

A. why should FIAT form a separate company to sell and service just two products through just 22 or so dealers? (Maybe they have serious plans to bring in other sexy brands; maybe they have several people on their senior management and they need another office and designations to accommodate them.)

B. IMO, rather than "being formed" they should have formed and launched the company and named it here in this statement along with the 22 cities which are on the focus list. (Now, till the new maverick marketing and service venture takes off, there won't be any new Linea/Punto owners. I won't be surprised if their sales read zero in June 2012 sales analysis.)

Sorry for the long post.

Last edited by sandeepmdas : 3rd May 2012 at 13:11.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 13:17   #56
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Default Re: Fiat revvs away from Tata dealerships. To set up its own distribution network

Hi Mate, No offences meant but consulting is something every company thinks is going to benefit them. Fiat needs to pick street smart people who will sell their cars. At the same time, Fiat is one company making awsome cars but the joint venture with TATA's is the something similar to a person becoming totally dependent on the other to manage all its resources.

Last two years i have bought two different cars and Fiat was always a contender. But was really pushed back by the laid back attitude of TATA dealers towrds fiat cars. Fiat was always pushed to one dark corner where there were no lights and the moment i told that i want to buy a FIAT car, the salesmen ran away. There was no follow up either. When discussed over the phone and informed that I wanted to buy a FIAT punto MJD but the salesguy was always pitching in Indica vista QDJ. Had even dropped a mail to the MD of FIAT india mentioning the attitude of TATA dealers but i have every reason to believe that he is also not interested in selling cars. This really made me wonder if Mr Rajeev is genuinely concerned with sales after all.If this was the condition of the sales, i was really worried about the service as well. There is no point buying a car which is already dieing a slow death and then keep on cribbing about service.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 13:28   #57
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Default Re: Fiat revvs away from Tata dealerships. To set up its own distribution network

The phrase 'Damn if you do, damn if you don't' applies to FIAT India. In spite of dwindling sales, FIAT India is trying their best to improve their brand image. If FIAT India remains quiet, people used to bash it, saying that it should have independent sales and service network and blah..blah. Now that FIAT India and Tata Motors have jointly announced new distribution and service model, again the same people have started lashing out FIAT India. I hope that the new model would be good both for FIAT India and the existing FIAT car owners in long term.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 13:39   #58
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Default Re: Fiat revvs away from Tata dealerships. To set up its own distribution network

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The phrase 'Damn if you do, damn if you don't' applies to FIAT India.
Agreed 100%. The earlier criticism on Fiat was that they haven't invested in independent sales/service centres, so they may get out of the JV and exit India at any time. Now Fiat has shown that it is willing to invest in creating own sales/service network (thus showing they are in for the long haul), and they are being accused of taking service out of existing Tata network.

I am a Fiat owner, and I too am concerned what will happen to my regular service centre (with it not being in a Tier 1 city). But if Fiat is willing to set up their own sales/service centre in my area, then I welcome such a move.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 13:48   #59
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Default Re: Fiat revvs away from Tata dealerships. To set up its own distribution network

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Originally Posted by Driving_Nomad View Post
May be they had plans of moving out of the sales JV and wanted to wait to introduce the 1.6MJD.
+1 to that.
Fiat might be making money selling the 1.3 MJDs to Maruti & Tata, but their own cars powered with this mill are going nowhere when it comes to sales.
They would definitely not like to see Manza 1.6 QJD, SX4 1.6 MJD, etc.. again outselling Linea 1.6.

Getting new dealers to sign up (even if they are existing Tata folks) will not be an easy task. The current sales numbers and only 2 models just does not provide enough incentive to pump in money for setting up new dealerships. Initially Fiat will need to pump in some money for having a few COCO dealers.

And most importantly they need more cars in their portfolio. Even if it takes time to launch new cars, the marketing team needs to go on an overdrive (not like the current ads which showcases the Fiat's situation - "underwater"). Need to ensure that Fiat stays in the limelight by building up some kinda of customer excitement. A good example would be Renault (5 models by end of 2012) & Ford (8 models by 2015).
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Old 3rd May 2012, 14:17   #60
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Default Re: Fiat revvs away from Tata dealerships. To set up its own distribution network

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Originally Posted by StarrySky View Post
Now Fiat has shown that it is willing to invest in creating own sales/service network (thus showing they are in for the long haul), and they are being accused of taking service out of existing Tata network.
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Originally Posted by J.Ravi View Post
The phrase 'Damn if you do, damn if you don't' applies to FIAT India.
Well, that's a general pattern I see all over the forum, not just on Fiat, but on many other matters. I can think of an analogy from the cricket commentators. In retrospect, they always accuse the bowlers either of "not being consistent" or "being predictable" when things go wrong.

I think and hope that Fiat folks are not going through our forums, for if they do, they will just go mad as to what really is the problem with them. Often, people are just too quick to post comments that are not being backed by solid analysis or data or logic in the form of personal opinions. Well, I am not saying that one shouldn't, for everyone is entitled for personal opinions. I am just saying it's often easier to just ignore if you feel that the opinion doesn't sound right to you.
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