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Old 26th November 2014, 19:14   #31
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

The company I am working in, hired a Swift VDI and an Ertiga for a few days to ferry the employees. And both are on Yellow plates. That was the first time I saw an Ertiga with yellow plates.
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Old 26th November 2014, 20:36   #32
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

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Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
If maruti happens to sell to taxi market besides the family market, it is a leader which does little wrong!
If Fiat sells to taxi market besides the family market, it is desperate and confused!

Can we pls let them survive and do what they want?
I think that is so because no matter how Maruti sells their cars, be it as a taxi or private or commercial (Omni), they still are getting sales all round. Now this can be because they have an absolutely amazing business strategy and marketing department or because they have been around for decades and the Indian public identifies a vehicle with Maruti.

Fact of the matter is, regardless of how and where they sell their cars, they are getting it right and are still an indisputable leader in the market. Apart from the luxury and SUV market, Maruti has been going all guns blazing.

Fiat, on the other hand, has royally messed it up. For themselves. I think the general business sentiment is, what are you doing?! For so long, it has been trial and error. And mostly unsuccessful when it comes to being a car company in India.

They need a vision, a plan and an ability to execute it. While they're at it, people are just losing interest.
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Old 26th November 2014, 22:27   #33
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

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I think that is so because no matter how Maruti sells their cars, be it as a taxi or private or commercial (Omni), they still are getting sales all round. Now this can be because they have an absolutely amazing business strategy and marketing department or because they have been around for decades and the Indian public identifies a vehicle with Maruti.

Fact of the matter is, regardless of how and where they sell their cars, they are getting it right and are still an indisputable leader in the market. Apart from the luxury and SUV market, Maruti has been going all guns blazing.

Fiat, on the other hand, has royally messed it up. For themselves. I think the general business sentiment is, what are you doing?! For so long, it has been trial and error. And mostly unsuccessful when it comes to being a car company in India.

They need a vision, a plan and an ability to execute it. While they're at it, people are just losing interest.
bhai,

disagree.

Their general incompetence in servicing / spares aside, (which many fiat owners seem to indicate has been improving) it does not mean they should be bashed for trying to sell cars to a section of the public. Sorry. They're just trying to do their job.
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Old 27th November 2014, 01:32   #34
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

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bhai,

disagree.

Their general incompetence in servicing / spares aside, (which many fiat owners seem to indicate has been improving) it does not mean they should be bashed for trying to sell cars to a section of the public. Sorry. They're just trying to do their job.
My observation was about their business strategy in India; the exact issues GTO has highlighted: unsuccessful partnerships, offerings that don't deliver the best value etc.

My comment isn't about the quality or that they're selling cars as taxis but about the way they're doing business in India.

Last edited by libranof1987 : 27th November 2014 at 01:37.
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Old 27th November 2014, 02:20   #35
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

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Originally Posted by JoseVijay View Post
The company I am working in, hired a Swift VDI and an Ertiga for a few days to ferry the employees. And both are on Yellow plates. That was the first time I saw an Ertiga with yellow plates.
There are plenty of Ertiga taxis in Kerala, perhaps one may lose count.
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Old 27th November 2014, 10:50   #36
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

Sorry, I have not read the posts entirely, but:

1) The Kolkata car repair ecosystem is a legacy business, IMHO, taken forward by generations with solid knowledge base on a few cars (Amby for that matter). They are VERY averse to learning new things, as their general aspiration is very low. Maintain the shack/garage, have enough to feed the family and thats it. A large spurious and smuggled parts business from the Uttarpara factory was flourishing, if I am not wrong, for the Amby's which kept the actual running costs low. Linea will find it really difficult. The TAXI market was never ASS business, ever, in Kolkata!
2) With the SIZE of the Linea...and the gullies of Old Kolkata, how does the driver manage to get IN and OUT of, say, bylanes of Bagbazar? OK...Kasba/Ballygunge..?? Beat me here: Howrah lanes??

You seen that Austin Powers flick: the hero managed to fit his vehicle between the walls, perpendicular, and, well, could not get going!

Last edited by lapis_lazuli : 27th November 2014 at 10:53.
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Old 27th November 2014, 12:34   #37
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

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Originally Posted by lapis_lazuli View Post
They are VERY averse to learning new things, as their general aspiration is very low.
Bang on target!

Convincing a Kolkata cabbie w.r.t. switching over to a new model is a Herculean task - for any OEM.
All sorts of arguments and counter-arguments will be put forward. The most popular being apart from Amby all other vehicles being considered for cabs are "shookhee gaari's" (meaning "delicate cars").

The resistance is more psychological rather than from a vehicle's actual performance point of view. Kolkata cabbies having been exposed only to the world of Amby Cabs just cannot think beyond that line.

But personally i think Linea may not be a good fit. The low rear seating and roofline, the large turning circle and the overall length is not apt for Kolkata's roads. The Dzire ticks the right boxes w.r.t the above - hence its slowly catching on - and cabbies are grudgingly acknowledging the reliability of the Dzire.

Actually FIAT missed a trick here. Had someone stuck their necks out and brought in the old Siena / Petra it would have been a better fit. And possibly they could have priced it a lot lower too. And effectively de-"linea"-ted, (pun intended), the regular lineup and cab lineup / branding very effectively.
But then i guess, the Ranjangaon plant cannot support the 178 platform line anymore. or can it ?

Last edited by arjab : 27th November 2014 at 12:37. Reason: added a line
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Old 28th November 2014, 13:44   #38
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

A little off topic here but I don't know what is going on with the Taxi industry.
I think if we open one thread for each car being used as a Taxi, we would need hundreds of threads.
As its quite evident, Indian cab industry is in one of its the most transforming years. There are many reasons like crazy diesel prices, innovation, entry of players like Uber and auto rikshaws services becoming more expensive and unreliable.

In last one year I have seen Swift, Ertiga, Ritz, i10, Punto, Nano, Aria, Fiesta, Figo, Micra .. and I lost count. I am not including the usual preferred vehicles for cabbies like Indica, Etios, Dzire, Innova, Travera etc.

Now I am more confused than ever. What are the pros and cons of any car to be preferred as a Taxi?
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Old 28th November 2014, 14:37   #39
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

Why Ambassador is the most preferred car among Taxi drivers?

1) They need a tough body with steel bumper. So small hits/ accidents wont cost them a bomb. When Ambassador came with plastic bumpers the company changed it back to steel bumper for the taxi's due to the demand from the Kolkata cabbies!
2) Cheap spares.
3) A car which is mechanically not at all complicated and can be repaired any where and they can do there own DIY juggads to run the cab.
4) Acres of space and a large boot.
5) Amby can carry a hell lot of load.
6) Still the rear seat of an Amby is one of the most comfortable place to be in.
7)The taxi drivers hate bucket seats in front so in there leisure time they can have a nice nap with there legs stretched on the front seat.
8) A strong boot lit or bonnet where they can seat comfortably, parking the car under a tree in the hot summer. Imagine a 80kg weighted person seating on the bonnet or boot lid of a Dzire or Linea! Am sure it will crave down! The Linea may still withstand it but not the Dzire.
9) Even with heavy loads Amby do not scrap its belly anywhere in the super bad roads of Kolkata. I doubt how the Linea will perform there.
10) Last but not the least they feel more secured in an Amby than any other cars. They are still far behind to get the concept of crumple zones or other safety features. For them if they are inside a hard body shell they are safe! Some what they think like snails!

Now imagine these guys driving a Linea/ Dzire-


1) Plastic bumpers will go for a toss even in a small hit. = More expense.
2) Costly Spares. So a broken tail light or head lamp = More expense.
3) Regular service intervals= More expense
4) Specially all the new engines have turbo. And these guys will never follow the idling rules. If the car stops for even 15 seconds they switch of the engine to save fuel. This can lead the turbo to go for a toss much earlier! = More expense
5) Am sure there driving style will lead these cars to rattle box in hardly 2-3 years. Plus the way they abuse, a Linea or Dzire wont last more than 5 years. Where as an Amby can handle there abuse for 10-15 years with ease! = More expense.

Now Linea as a car is an awesome car, but is it suitable for Kolkata Taxi? I guess no.

For Kolkata Cabbies Dzire or Indigo cs will be more suitable to there driving style and abuse.

The above conclusion is after interacting with many Kolkata Taxi drivers and having tea with them in the road side tea stalls!
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Old 28th November 2014, 20:58   #40
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

Fiat should have focused on its home turf, Mumbai which was a Fiat (Taxi) country, first which they have not done in right earnest to carry forward the Fiat legacy,
Wishing all success for Fiat at Kolkata.
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Old 30th November 2014, 01:59   #41
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

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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?
What parts are we talking here?

The DZire shares the same MJD engine. The Linea is built well and sure does not rattle as much as the DZire, ages quite well.

But yes, few spares (for eg., brake pads) are costlier for the Fiat and may not be preferred by the taxi market.
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Old 30th November 2014, 07:49   #42
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

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Now imagine these guys driving a Linea/ Dzire-[/b]

1) Plastic bumpers will go for a toss even in a small hit. = More expense.
2) Costly Spares. So a broken tail light or head lamp = More expense.
These are welcome points for private car owners. Now the cabbies would be more careful squeezing their car into non-existent gaps in traffic challenging others on the road with "move out of my way if you don't want to get a scratch or a hit" attitude since their Amby wouldn't have any serious damage.

Using a car like Linea would teach them some good road etiquette.

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Originally Posted by DRIV3R View Post
What parts are we talking here?

The DZire shares the same MJD engine. The Linea is built well and sure does not rattle as much as the DZire, ages quite well.

But yes, few spares (for eg., brake pads) are costlier for the Fiat and may not be preferred by the taxi market.
I'm assuming he is talking about the mechanical/suspension parts of Fiat like the shocks, tie rods et al. I'm not aware of the spare prices but I'm guessing they might be costlier than for Maruti. A cab driver cannot usually say "no" in case a customer wants to go to a place via some bad roads, nor can he take a longer better road when the customer is billed on a per km basis.

Last edited by zenren : 30th November 2014 at 07:54.
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Old 30th November 2014, 08:41   #43
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

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I'm assuming he is talking about the mechanical/suspension parts of Fiat like the shocks, tie rods et al. I'm not aware of the spare prices but I'm guessing they might be costlier than for Maruti. A cab driver cannot usually say "no" in case a customer wants to go to a place via some bad roads, nor can he take a longer better road when the customer is billed on a per km basis.
Well, I have already mentioned in my previous post that few spares like the brake pads, are for a fact, would be costlier than the Maruti.

About the suspension/mechanical parts life and their costs, I believe it is majorly a myth and let me just say that the owners know better.

We own couple of Puntos and I have changed all 4 struts for 9k odd including labor at after sales. Am not sure if the same for the Dzire would cost any lesser or more. Linea's cost just a wee bit more.

Whether the cabbies would prefer this over the DZire, am not sure. People have raised valid points like the turning radius, yes, but we also need to understand that the Linea is a proper sedan unlike the DZire which is a CS.

Meanwhile, here is something.
Attached Images
 

Last edited by DRIV3R : 30th November 2014 at 08:46.
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Old 30th November 2014, 09:27   #44
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

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Whether the cabbies would prefer this over the DZire, am not sure. People have raised valid points like the turning radius, yes, but we also need to understand that the Linea is a proper sedan unlike the DZire which is a CS.
Dzire that we are taking about here is the Dzire Tour, essentially the old generation Dzire which is a full size sedan and not a CS.

Though the boot space of Linea is higher at 500 liters, Dzire Tour is only marginally lower at 450 liters. Considering Amby had only 430 liters, both are better.

The turning radius of the old Dzire is 4.7m, slightly better than the current Dzire CS's 4.8m and leagues ahead of Linea's 5.4m. However, the saving grace for Linea is that even Amby had 5.4m turning radius which means the cabbies are not probably at a disadvantage with Linea; just that they are losing out on an advantage of Dzire. They are already familiar with Ambassador's turning radius and hence won't find Linea particularly unwieldy.

Last edited by zenren : 30th November 2014 at 09:33. Reason: Adding Ambassador numbers for making the comparisons more meaningful
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Old 1st December 2014, 13:45   #45
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

I haven't seen any Linea taxis yet in Kol. Plenty of Dzires and Indigo CS's, some Etios, Veritos and some Fiesta Classics. As others have observed, getting cabbies to invest in a Fiat will be mega tough. Forget all the logical cost of ownership, spares and service talk. Perception among the cab drivers and owners is:
- Amby's were (and still are) the best choice for a cab. Tougher than any of the "muri'r tin" (Bengali for a tin can of puffed rice, referring to the perceived thinner and therefore delicate body shell of the newer cars) gaadis
- Cheapest to own and run, can be repaired by the local pan wallah if needs be. Parts are available in plenty through proper and not so proper channels (old, reconditioned parts, stolen parts and what not... place called Mullick bazaar is famous for this)
- Maruti/Tata are still acceptable, especially since Amby's have been stopped, but any other brand would be either too expensive or the cars not suited to be a taxi. Maruti/Tata are also giving good financing options to woo cabbies

Perceptions (at least in the immediate future) would matter more than realities here...

Last edited by razor4077 : 1st December 2014 at 13:46.
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