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Old 25th November 2014, 14:39   #1
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Default Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

With the production of the Hindustan Ambassador halted, manufacturers like Maruti Suzuki and Tata Motors have quickly moved in to take the place of the old warhorse in the taxi market in Kolkata. Now, Fiat India is also looking to grab a share of the market with a stripped down version of the Linea sedan.

The Ambassador, which was manufactured at Uttarpara in West Bengal, was the undisputed ruler of Kolkata's taxi market. Since Hindustan Motors suspended operations earlier this year, Tata Motors and Maruti Suzuki have introduced the Indigo and Dzire respectively, exclusively for the taxi market. Additionally, the state transport department announced that it would be giving 3,000 new taxi permits. Fiat believes that it can do well in the market as well. The company is already selling the Linea as a taxi in Delhi and Mumbai and is now waiting for the West Bengal to approve its proposal. The approval is expected in a week's time.

The stripped down version of the Linea is likely to be priced at Rs. 6.22 lakh approximately - about Rs. 60,000 more than the Ambassador.

Source: Business Standard
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Old 25th November 2014, 15:16   #2
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Post Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

Thanks for the information. I somehow dislike the idea of Linea entering into taxi segment. But going through the article I understand that it is already present in Delhi and Mumbai. Is it having the same fate as Indigo which is now associated to taxi first and car next?

Last edited by mobike008 : 26th November 2014 at 17:21. Reason: quoting the post was not required. New post is just fine..Thanks
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Old 25th November 2014, 15:28   #3
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

If fiat wants to enter the taxi segment that is their call , and if they manage to get numbers out it even better but i am not sure on how well Fiat has managed to do in cities where they have already started this for example Delhi - in the last few months since the initial report came out i have seen only 1 fiat taxi , that too in Gurgaon and nothing in Delhi since then.

I would assume that while a fresh offering in the taxi segment what levels of apprehension would feet operators have to purchase a car , which is essentially supposed to be a workhorse , given the low number of workshop points available across the country , add to it the general difficultly in sourcing spare parts and some of them being expensive - it does not make for the ideal car for this segment in my opinion and within this bracket.
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Old 25th November 2014, 15:30   #4
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

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Originally Posted by Kratos453 View Post
Thanks for the information. I somehow dislike the idea of Linea entering into taxi segment. But going through the article I understand that it is already present in Delhi and Mumbai. Is it having the same fate as Indigo which is now associated to taxi first and car next?
In my opinion, just giving a stripped down Linea is not enough to entice the taxi segment. Availability of spare parts, good service network are a couple of aspects that even enthusiasts are having trouble to cope up with. Ownership costs of owning a Fiat in India is another aspect where one cannot beat the Amby. I doubt that the taxi segment would take these shortcomings kindly.

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. Feels like FIAT is completely distressed and just want the sale to happen anywhere and anyhow.

In my opinion, this is a bad move. This thing is not going to taste success in the taxi/ fleet operators segment, where as on the other hand it can be a big turn off for enthusiasts & FIAT fans too.

Regards,
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Old 25th November 2014, 15:37   #5
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

Yeah Right, its like a kid who sees an opportunity to grab a candy and runs for it without thinking of the consequences. This was my first thought when I read the post about Fiats thought process.

Amby made it to the hearts of people by being user abuse friendly. Though Fiat has probably one of the best build quality, would it stand a chance in this segment against TATA and Maruti, who have quite a handful service Centers across the country. I mean, What is Fiat's USP to the taxi owner? A stripped down version, which is going to be expensive to maintain, with spares not being readily available and when you decide to sell it, it would be compared to peanuts on resale value. But hey, you get all of these for just 60k more than Amby (VERY SARCASTIC)
I apologize if this sounded like a rant, but I think companies should stop taking people for granted and give them some value along with VFM.
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Old 25th November 2014, 17:16   #6
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Post Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

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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. Feels like FIAT is completely distressed and just want the sale to happen anywhere and anyhow.

In my opinion, this is a bad move. This thing is not going to taste success in the taxi/ fleet operators segment, where as on the other hand it can be a big turn off for enthusiasts & FIAT fans too.

Regards,
Saket
I am totally with you on this. Fiat seem confused and desperate to sell and hence are surely losing their focus. It is ironical that a car meant to target enthusiast is ending up in the taxi segment.
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Old 25th November 2014, 17:16   #7
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

Fiat has launched the Linea classic for taxi segment but till date it is totally unsuccessful as far as sales is concerned. In my opinion Linea is not suitable for the segment which is mostly ruled by the smaller sedans. Also after hearing the horror stories of Fiat service in Kolkata it would be quite difficult to assure the fleet/cab owners to go for a fiat. How can you compete with the likes of Maruti,Tata etc with just 100 odd dealerships? Lets keep a watch what happens.
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Old 25th November 2014, 17:47   #8
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

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Originally Posted by saket77 View Post
Ownership costs of owning a Fiat in India is another aspect where one cannot beat the Amby. I doubt that the taxi segment would take these shortcomings kindly.
The Amby is not a contender any more.

It is Tata vs. Maruti vs. Fiat.
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Old 25th November 2014, 17:58   #9
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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.
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
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Old 25th November 2014, 17:59   #10
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

Another of Fiat's dreams. When will these guys wake up and come into the reality?! It's great to want to do something but Fiat is too lazy to do the groundwork and pre & post launch hard work to keep their products successful.

With their service problem's how does Fiat think they will crack a segment that believes only in driving the car's with minimal maintenance?

I think a better option would be fleet sales to rental companies and maybe radio cabs like Tab Cab & Meru.

I hope they have done their homework on Kolkata & have the strength to deal with pissed off taxi unions over service issues .
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Old 25th November 2014, 18:06   #11
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

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.

Best bet for taxi business is no doubt the Indigo - with a good service network & cheaper spares. Minor niggles which are particular to a Tata vehicle is more of a concern to a private car owner rather than a taxi driver/ fleet operator. The logical upgrade from Amby is definitely the Indigo; for the purpose. Even on the FE front, Indigo is a winner as compared to FIAT, forget spares cost and availability and poor service network. Wake up FIAT! With such irrational moves, you stand to lose even the existing & niche customers.

Last edited by saket77 : 25th November 2014 at 18:08.
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Old 25th November 2014, 18:08   #12
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

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.
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Old 25th November 2014, 20:26   #13
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

Wow, thats news for Kolkata. Most of the challenges for Fiat in the taxi segment have been discussed in the posts before me. To add to the list, general perception of people have been that Fiats are expensive to own and maintain. In Kolkata, for any car to successfully make it as a full fledged taxi it will need to have existing "Jugaad" for parts and mechanicals. Having discussed all our skepticism, one cannot argue with the fact that the Linea would be the best looking taxi on the roads.
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Old 26th November 2014, 07:37   #14
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Taxi operators would prefer ease of maintenance and wide service network to Italian style and superior dynamics, I'm quite sure.
And there was this closedown of dealer a few months back in Kolkata is it not? How did they sort that out? Sorry if it has been discussed elsewhere already.
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Old 26th November 2014, 09:49   #15
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Default Re: Fiat eyes taxi market in Kolkata after Ambassador's exit

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?

Like Salman Khan said in Ready, Tum karo toh raam leela, hum karein toh character dheela!

EDIT: Fiat's success is less likely simply because the cabbies like an easy to run workhorse with good resale. Cheap prices got them to buy the Chevy Enjoy in large numbers, but cheap prices haven't gotten them attracted to the Figo that much.

Last edited by phamilyman : 26th November 2014 at 09:53.
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