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Old 26th November 2014, 09:57   #16
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

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Originally Posted by reignofchaos View Post
Lineas would be horrible taxis. The rear space (both legroom and headroom) in a linea is less than that of many small hatchbacks. Its not meant to be a taxi.
Just curious, which 'small' hatchbacks are we talking here?

And yes, it was not meant to be a taxi. Also, Fiat already made an attempt by introducing the Linea classic, which is a bare bones version of the erstwhile Linea, and also with the cheaper 75HP mill. Not sure if it is the same Linea classic they are talking about for WB.
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Old 26th November 2014, 10:13   #17
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

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Originally Posted by DRIV3R View Post
Just curious, which 'small' hatchbacks are we talking here?

And yes, it was not meant to be a taxi. Also, Fiat already made an attempt by introducing the Linea classic, which is a bare bones version of the erstwhile Linea, and also with the cheaper 75HP mill. Not sure if it is the same Linea classic they are talking about for WB.
We asked someone to sit on the backseat of a linea and a brio. The person preferred the brio because of lack of headroom.
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Old 26th November 2014, 11:24   #18
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

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Originally Posted by DRIV3R View Post
Just curious, which 'small' hatchbacks are we talking here?

And yes, it was not meant to be a taxi. Also, Fiat already made an attempt by introducing the Linea classic, which is a bare bones version of the erstwhile Linea, and also with the cheaper 75HP mill. Not sure if it is the same Linea classic they are talking about for WB.
I don't think the average Indian taxi customer is interested in space or safety for that matter - case in point being the Dzire (poor rear seat space & OK safety) and Omni / Eeco taxi (good space but relatively poor occupant safety). Both vehicles are fairly popular in the taxi segment. For the taxi operator it is the cost of ownership (servicing, spares, etc) and running that really matters.

An example is a transport company in Delhi which doesn't keep any Toyota Camry in its portfolio, as it comes with a petrol engine only. For Camry bookings, they instead send either a Mercedes C class or Audi A4 - both diesels. Even though the two German marques might have less passenger and boot space as compared to a Camry, but then who would really refuse the free upgrade!
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Old 26th November 2014, 11:33   #19
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

After the Fiesta(Classic) it's turn for the Linea to be a taxi here in Kolkata. Sigh, as two most VFM driver oriented cars, albeit less successful in India are now going to suffer further from the proverbial "taxi image". Well, whatever makes business sense to the corporates.
Fiat has atleast tied up with Austin Distributors, Kolkata a renowned erstwhile HM dealer with their dealership right in the heart of the city. Austin has the required experience and enjoys the royalty of the taxi owners here owing to their long association with HM. Fiat cars are now visible to more people here. I get to see few Avventuras lined up at the Esplanade end of the Park Street flyover. That's good for Fiat I guess. The Dzire has been well accepted by the cab fraternity here, the Linea carries the same engine and the back seat is atleast at par if not better than the Dzire. From random chit chats I have had with the cabbies, they vouch for the fuel efficiency of the DZire, the Linea has to match that and provide equally easy service.
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Old 26th November 2014, 11:34   #20
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

Stripped down variant of the Linea a la the Swift Dzire Tour? Can the Linea take so much of abuse and retain parts over a long period of usage without having them replaced?
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Old 26th November 2014, 11:58   #21
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

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Originally Posted by Sommos View Post
The Amby is not a contender any more.

It is Tata vs. Maruti vs. Fiat.
Tata always led the taxi market followed by Maruthi. I doubt if Fiat is a contender at all.

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I have seem more of D'zires and Indigos plying in Kolkata as taxis but no Linea (as taxi) till date. Wonder how FIAT came up with this plan.
Exactly a month after launch of the face-lifted Punto, I saw a car with taxi plates on Hyderabad roads. I felt like giving FIAT this .
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Old 26th November 2014, 12:24   #22
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

I have myself spotted a few Punto's with Yellow plates in Pune, but never a Linea.

In my opinion, if Fiat's are sold as Taxi's, it is good news for the private owners, who can now get the spares easily and eventually, even the roadside mechanics would be able to understand and diagnose the cars. But that just my thinking.
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Old 26th November 2014, 13:38   #23
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

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Originally Posted by ILTDrive View Post
I beg to differ, AMBY would still be a contender just for the fact that the existing ones on the road would continue to run for at least a decade if not more. So, I would say it would be Amby Vs TATA & Maruti Vs. Fiat. I also feel, servicing an Amby may be cheaper than that of TATA and Maruti as well, for every roadside mechanic would/should be an expert with it by now
The cost of maintenance of the Amby is less than any of the other cars under discussion. The topic of discussion is about the 3K new taxi permits and the Amby is not a contender for the new taxi permits.


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Originally Posted by DRIV3R View Post
Also, Fiat already made an attempt by introducing the Linea classic, which is a bare bones version of the erstwhile Linea, and also with the cheaper 75HP mill. Not sure if it is the same Linea classic they are talking about for WB.
Probably yes, because the news already mention about Fiat being in the taxi segment in Delhi and Mumbai and also that the car would be priced around 6.22 Lakhs, the Linea classic is 6.13L at Kolkata as per the Fiat India website.
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Old 26th November 2014, 14:33   #24
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

Taj Vivanta used to have Linea's in their fleet. I don't see them anymore. I guess they junked them for Tata Manza's as it offered much more room (read acres), similar comfort levels, easier, cheaper and faster turnaround for repair.

There are a few GP's in my city doing the Bpo rounds. I don't think they will survive too long in the hands of a cab driver.

Last edited by sandeepmohan : 26th November 2014 at 14:34.
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Old 26th November 2014, 15:17   #25
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

I think Fiat will get more sales (than the Kolkata taxi market) if they launch a Punto T-Jet

They have the car & engine ready...but refuse to mate the two. Shows what little understanding they have of their target market.

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Originally Posted by saket77 View Post
On the other hand, FIAT appears to be completely out of ideas in India. First they target the enthusiasts, then targeting the taxi & fleet operators...something is not in sync.
True. Fiat's India operations are totally directionless. In the last 15 years:

- Fiat hasn't decided on the right partner (first PAL, then Tata). Hope they stay alone now.

- Unknowingly ended up as an engine manufacturer first, then a car manufacturer - related thread (Fiat India's revenues grow 88% in FY 2014).

- Sold the Punto with 3 engines (1.2P, 1.4P, 1.3D), but not the T-Jet.

- Launched a 6-lakh Linea. Alongside a 10-lakh Linea.

- Planned to launch 30+ lakh SUVs (i.e. Cherokees).

- After media drives, indefinitely delayed plans to launch the 30+ lakh SUVs.

- Tried to sell a 20 lakh hatchback (i.e. Fiat 500).

- Killed the 20 lakh hatchback.

- Tried building cars for others (e.g. Tata Manza).

- Tries the mass market. Fails. Tries the enthusiast market. Fails. Now tries the taxi market.

- With all that excess capacity, has been thinking of becoming an export hub for Chrysler. Jurys out on that move.
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Old 26th November 2014, 15:28   #26
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

I think a stripped down version of Linea would be a good choice for taxi. Many strong points here.
1. Cost effectiveness with stripped version
2. Fuel efficiency in diesel
3. Good boot space
4. Build quality to take all the abuse. Same reason as a E class being the most preferred vehicle for taxis in many parts of world.

The points which will work against it are

1. Reliability(compared to a Toyota or Suzuki)
2. Service network
3. Horrible resale value
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Old 26th November 2014, 16:38   #27
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

To be honest, I do not see the resale value as a matter under consideration for the taxi fleet.
My understanding is that a taxi driver buys a car and drives it till the car is beyond repairs or till Government interferes (example of Fiats in Mumbai).
I am talking about the general taxi fleet who buy their own car and drive it as a taxi themselves. I do not mean the private taxi operators who rent out cars. These are already happy with the Innova's, Etios and the Indica/Manza's.
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Old 26th November 2014, 17:28   #28
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

Last week, I spent 3 days in Kolkata and used Ambassador taxis a lot and it was mixed feeling to be riding in a legend.

I made it a point to only hail down an Ambassador except for one day where we hired the Dzire (plenty of them as taxis in KOL) for a whole day.

Btw, didnt spot a single Linea in a taxi uniform !!!
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Old 26th November 2014, 17:30   #29
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

There is a less than a year old taxi company called Swisscabs operating in Guwahati. Their fleet consist exclusively of Lineas till now. Here is the link to a short video of their opening ceremony.

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Old 26th November 2014, 18:44   #30
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohh!Oxygen View Post
The points which will work against it are
1. Reliability(compared to a Toyota or Suzuki)
2. Service network
3. Horrible resale value
I might be wrong but I think FIAT cars have a higher turning radius than cars in its class a point which could work against it when used as a taxi in the narrow roads of Kolkata (or any city for that matter)
EDIT: it is 5.4m for Linea against 4.8 m for Swift DZire (close to 2 feet difference)

Last edited by DWind : 26th November 2014 at 18:50.
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