Go Back   Team-BHP > BHP India > The Indian Car Scene


Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 11th July 2009, 22:27   #1
Senior - BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Pune
Posts: 2,501
Thanked: 1,269 Times
Default The Fiat Grande Punto - will history repeat itself yet again?

I have been following the thread on the Grande Punto from before the launch, at which time I was giving the car serious thought as a buy. While I congratulate all of those who are in the process of enjoying their Fiat ownership, I have to say that having read the excellent GTO review, the posts of different forum members and after a visit to the showroom, I decided to not continue a relationship with Fiat that goes back to before I was born, as far as the family is concerned.

The frenzy about the GP is exactly how it was when the 118 NE was launched, as well as the Uno - at that time, people blamed the Doshi family for messing up things, which was perhaps a fair assessment. And then the Palio was launched and the only difference between then and now was that the net was in its infancy in India as a place where a site like Team BHP could exist. There was the same frenzy - instead of Yuvraj, it was Sachin. And it was proclaimed to be the second coming of Fiat, now shed of the Doshi family baggage, and Italians who were out of touch with India. The brand new Italian MD ( Maurizio Bianchi, if my memory still works) claimed to even like cricket....and that Fiat was now going to show what they are really able to do, when they set about doing something. It was also a time when Fiat had come out of danger globally based on the success of the Panda ( I think ). And globally, Paolo Cantarella was the saviour that Marchionne is seen to be today.

The cars sold like the proverbial hot cakes. I bought a 1.6 GTX on the launch day, just for the fantastic engine. Great cars, except for slight FE issue. And if you knew the dealer and his service advisor well, you were well served. If not...the car still did not need much attention to it the first four years, so for those of us that did not mind the lower FE for the pleasure afforded by a modern Fiat, life was good. Imagine being able to get a car that went at 175 kmph on the e way, for just a little over Rs 5 lakhs. OTR, in 2001. And that was a steady as a rock at those speeds. Never mind the fact that one could almost see the fuel gauge needle drop down little by little as one looked at it! And never mind that the car just wouldn't turn a straight U turn on reasonably wide Indian city streets!

As time passed, Fiat flattered to deceive. Leaving behind yet another great product done in by management ineptitude.

From all that I read on the forum, I saw the same themes repeating. Great highway manners. Poor attention to interior detail - this actually is new, the 2001 Palios were very well built. Car won't turn. Poor interior packaging. Suspect FE. And the last straw was when I spent 20 minutes in the showroom and was able to see the car inside out, and walk away without once being accosted by any sales staff. If that is now you are treated before you become a customer, what will happen once you have bought the car? And recently I have read with some amusement the RTO fiasco going on in some part of the country.

I went and got myself an i20. I can't spend the next 4-8 years of my life with the same Tata service staff that made the last 2 years of the GTX ownership a distinct pain in the place I sit on. Maybe the i20 lacks character......there are times in life when you do not want your car to have character. Because more often than not, character is just a euphemism for niggles of unreliability. Sometimes, more than just niggles.

For those of you who have bought and booked the car, please be sure to cultivate good relationships with the service folk, while making full use of the undeniable qualities that the GP has. For those that have not yet booked it, what can I say? May be a suggestion that it might be a good idea to hold on to your existing cars, and allow Fiat India the breathing space to get their service act up to speed? Even if that is not something they would like to have in their rush to build volumes? And then take a call based on more of actual user on road experience?

I know that I am going to get flamed for this - all I can say is that I have no agenda of my own, other than to share some of the history with many forum members who may be to young to have been there when it happened. After all, a new car is a significant investment and a life living critical accessory to Indians - it is not a hobby to all but a lucky few of us.
Sawyer is online now  
Old 12th July 2009, 00:39   #2
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Pune
Posts: 90
Thanked: 28 Times
Default Bravo!!

Well said sawyer,
I have TDed the Punto 3 times already, each time the car has managed to pull at my heart but something around it left a bad taste.
I am keeping track of some Linea ownership experience and I read that some idiot put diesel engine oil in a petrol car
I mean, are you kidding me. I'd wan't to bash that guy's skull in and since I can't I'd lose sleep over it.

Today I went for a TD and the sales guy had absolutely no idea or interest in the car.

I want to buy the Punto but for the amount I am spending I also want to be able to sleep well at night. This is going to be my first car and I don't want it to be a bad experience. For now, I will wait and read the reviews from the "Bold"er of our lot and pray that (with Tata's help) Fiat have improved.
jaygeetee is offline  
Old 12th July 2009, 00:54   #3
BHPian
 
Silver Knight's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Trichur
Posts: 100
Thanked: 23 Times
Default

Spot on mate. You hit the right chords. But breathing space???? Fiat is here in the martket for eons and still couldn't move a stone or two to improve their service. SHAME ON YOU guys. It is not the lack of good cars in the Fiat stable, but let them put the blocks in place.
Once the novelty factor dries down, sad that Punto will also go for a toss.
Silver Knight is offline  
Old 12th July 2009, 01:10   #4
BHPian
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Delhi
Posts: 90
Thanked: 85 Times
Default

Even though i have booked a punto,there are still serious re-considerations going on within the family and as well as my head,regarding whether to pay the extra lac and go for an i20 crdi. And these thoughts are partially supported by the behavior of the dealership itself.

The extra lac for the i20 will equate to peace of mind,better re-sale and an average ride quality. But my heart is with the italians,and the dang head is going with the koreans.
smilenow is offline  
Old 12th July 2009, 01:11   #5
BHPian
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Jamshedpur
Posts: 205
Thanked: 5 Times
Default

Guys i own a punto and its brilliant.I stay in Jamshedpur and go to Bhubaneswar quite often,and i have owned two indicas before but have never faced any problems neither with the car nor with tatas service so guys be patient and give them a chance coz they would improve if not upto the mark.
ahuja365 is offline  
Old 12th July 2009, 01:18   #6
Senior - BHPian
 
aaggoswami's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Vadodara
Posts: 4,675
Thanked: 1,426 Times
Default

1) If a manufacturer as big as Fiat is not able to handle A.S & S. for Indian operations themselves, then I doubt they have faith in the products they throw up. They are completely disoriented about where they are standing in Indian market.

2) Their products have some sort of problem or two. Fiat, a manufacturer that put in six people in Multipla, in GP, messes up with space. Why ? The long dashboard is one of the reasons I suspect. But apart from that rubber beading on the door is not present. Even Alto has rubber on body frame and on doors. And as time passes by and rubber degrades, this will be more apparent.

3) Overall from what I have read, the quality has been compromised for cost cutting. http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/techni...ide-punto.html (Rusting on Underside of Punto)
Here the user has seen rusted drive shaft. This must not happen in any car that is so new.

4) The cars are not near to perfect. Look at I20. They have got so many things right and with that diesel, its very near to perfect hatch. GP will not be giving good FE and this is for sure. The car is heavy and engines are not strong, as a consequence of which lower gearing is present. This will eventually lead to problems for sure. And Swift DDiS is well insulated from engine noise than GP.

5) Overall, I agree that after the initial excitement is over, there is nothing good left for long term success. Same will go for Linea too. Linea being a sedan will continue to be looked at as VFM in diesel format, but GP will not be able to sustain in the hatch segment.

6) What spoils the game here is a poor pair of engines for the car, A.S & S. and attitude. Till Fiat is not ready to take responsibility of its products through chain established by themselves, I will not trust Fiat. Reliability is also an issue I think.
aaggoswami is offline  
Old 12th July 2009, 02:33   #7
BANNED
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: New Delhi
Posts: 690
Thanked: 152 Times
Infractions: 0/1 (5)
Default

Regarding this
3) Overall from what I have read, the quality has been compromised for cost cutting. http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/techni...ide-punto.html (Rusting on Underside of Punto) (Rusting on Underside of Punto)
Here the user has seen rusted drive shaft. This must not happen in any car that is so new.

This can happen with any car especially on discs and iron parts whether is a Maruti , Hyndai , Fiat etc only if iron is involved .


4) The cars are not near to perfect. Look at I20. They have got so many things right and with that diesel, its very near to perfect hatch. GP will not be giving good FE and this is for sure. The car is heavy and engines are not strong, as a consequence of which lower gearing is present. This will eventually lead to problems for sure. And Swift DDiS is well insulated from engine noise than GP.

GP is already giving 21kmpl in city as reported in some threads by owners so how can you say GP is not giving good economy .Look at i20 is much more expensive than Punto .Look at the fuel efficieny of that CRDI when it comes and compare with Punto's .In Swift DDIS you hear all sorts of rattles , suspension noise you name it Maruti has given in it including poor tyres , claustrophobic interior , less boot space , that pathetic rear seat ,look at the quality of bumper's etc.

2) Their products have some sort of problem or two. Fiat, a manufacturer that put in six people in Multipla, in GP, messes up with space. Why ? The long dashboard is one of the reasons I suspect. But apart from that rubber beading on the door is not present. Even Alto has rubber on body frame and on doors. And as time passes by and rubber degrades, this will be more apparent.

It is just like saying Swift has less space than a WagonR or Versa !Regarding rubber see the quality of rubber , thickness of sheet metal used , chassis rigidity .Alto Vs Punto joking right
I could talk about other things also but in the end i will say FIAT A.S.S has improved a lot and hope it stays there and gets better only then will we see the rise of Hot powerful cars from FIAT .


Also inspite of everything FIAT engines run most cars in India now so their life/ built / design is much robust . In spite of poor sales for long time with palio , petra, seina etc they are still here not running away .

Last edited by Trust_In_Thrust : 12th July 2009 at 02:34.
Trust_In_Thrust is offline  
Old 12th July 2009, 02:50   #8
Senior - BHPian
 
AbhiJ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Kolkata
Posts: 1,298
Thanked: 462 Times
Default

I sincerely wish and hope that Fiat and the Punto succeed in the Indian market.

Its a wonderful looking car, but some excellent attributes. I also hope that whatever current issues/niggles with the car are solved with future facelifts/models.

That said... will I put my money into a Fiat. Uh .... No. Not Yet. I too test drove the Punto MJD and will most probably end up buying the i20 CRDi.
AbhiJ is online now  
Old 12th July 2009, 05:26   #9
Senior - BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Pune
Posts: 2,501
Thanked: 1,269 Times
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by AbhiJ View Post
I sincerely wish and hope that Fiat and the Punto succeed in the Indian market.

Its a wonderful looking car, but some excellent attributes. I also hope that whatever current issues/niggles with the car are solved with future facelifts/models.

CRDi.
Hear, hear - I too wish Fiat all success, it is just that they are making heavy weather of it again. Indians and Indian roads deserve a Fiat, it makes a great alternate choice of European cars at a good price point, that are great in terms of pride of ownership, and driving pleasure. And if they are successful, in future I can look forward to another Fiat in my life, with a lot of pleasure.
Sawyer is online now  
Old 12th July 2009, 05:26   #10
BHPian
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: NOIDA, Manchester & Cardiff
Posts: 565
Thanked: 43 Times
Default

With an Indian CEO at helm with experience from Hero Honda (where no major customer complaints have been heard) I hope things will be better this time for FIAT.

No car is perfect but I personally like rugged build quality and rock solid stability of FIAT over flimsy build quality of competition which starts rattling after 3 months.
akj53 is offline  
Old 12th July 2009, 05:47   #11
Senior - BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Pune
Posts: 2,501
Thanked: 1,269 Times
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by akj53 View Post
With an Indian CEO at helm with experience from Hero Honda (where no major customer complaints have been heard) I hope things will be better this time for FIAT.
Having done the CEO thing myself, I give him full marks for being personally ( I hope, and not his PA/EA!) attentive to retail customers. However, what will sustain Fiat is the capability of the entire organization, because they want to sell in volumes and not as a niche player where direct CEO drive and involvement is able to keep things on track. Remember that at Hero Honda, it is the instituted system set up by the combined will of Honda and the Munjals is what produces the result. Digressing a bit, even they admit that they are still some distance away from the build and reliability of HMSI products in India. Those who know will agree that this difference is visible in the quality/class of the Unicorn v comparable HH offerings. Why this should be given that both companies are as Indian as each other is down to - I am sorry to say - the superior work ethic and ethos of Japanese ( or even Korean ) management as compared to Indian. Somehow, we folks just cannot match their levels of dedication to the customer, to the shop floor worker, and to the environment and quality of and on our and supplier shop floors.
And it is the building of the organization that the Fiat CEO has to focus on, and he is running out of time. In choosing Fiat as a partner, Tata hopes to also induct Fiat culture into the extended Tata Motors organization. Unfortunately, in the real world, these things work like water finding its own, lowest level. What is happening and will keep happening is that the Fiat India culture is settling down to the Tata level. And for all their successes, the Tata management approach to their people, their suppliers and their internal working environment is still of the kind that was able to prevail in India prior to 1991 and the opening of the Indian economy.

As the Tata culture slowly improves given its size, so will that of Fiat, but at the same rate, tied as it is to Tatas for the two critical to success areas in volume automobile manufacturing - sales and service. The right thing for Fiat to have done would have been to go it alone in these areas, but that would have taken time, and meant a different business and investment model.

As a management practitioner and student, it will be fascinating to see this story play out, it will be a classic case study. This time around, I would prefer to remain a detached observer, though!
Sawyer is online now  
Old 12th July 2009, 06:27   #12
Senior - BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Pune
Posts: 2,501
Thanked: 1,269 Times
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaygeetee View Post
Well said sawyer,
I have TDed the Punto 3 times already, each time the car has managed to pull at my heart but something around it left a bad taste.
I am keeping track of some Linea ownership experience and I read that some idiot put diesel engine oil in a petrol car
I mean, are you kidding me. I'd wan't to bash that guy's skull in and since I can't I'd lose sleep over it.

Today I went for a TD and the sales guy had absolutely no idea or interest in the car.

I want to buy the Punto but for the amount I am spending I also want to be able to sleep well at night. This is going to be my first car and I don't want it to be a bad experience. For now, I will wait and read the reviews from the "Bold"er of our lot and pray that (with Tata's help) Fiat have improved.
Fiat in India has remained a heart ruling over head kind of a decision. It used to be the case in Europe as well, the bugbear for them also was build quality and the electrics.

As a first time buyer of a new car, I would suggest that you to let the head rule for now, and get yourself either a Maruti or a Hyundai. No one else is as good as them at their price points. I assume that you want to use your car for a lot of practical uses as well, and there will be times later in life to indulge in Fiats. And if they are still around then, it will also be because they have gotten their act together. They will first drown under the flood of GP bookings that will come their way, and then, if they display grit, will come out of the situation once they figure out and do all that needs to be done to support a volume product like an automobile in a country as challenging as India. It is not going to happen in a hurry. I have seen enough of Indian corporate life to know this.

Speaking for myself, as one who detested the look of the Santro back in 1998 and bought a UnoD instead, I must say that Hyundai have come of age. The Santro has proven me wrong, and the i10 and i20 are brilliant, if a little lacking in character and quirky in some design aspects. Build and internal material quality is far superior to the Marutis, so if you plan to keep the car for anything over 4 years, I would recommend Hyundai, the price premia over Maruti are worth it. Very good *** too.
Though I wish they would stop shamelessly copying the designs of other European cars, a trait that continues with the i20 bonnet!
Sawyer is online now  
Old 12th July 2009, 06:42   #13
Senior - BHPian
 
MileCruncher's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 3,992
Thanked: 356 Times
Default

Hi Sawyer,

I understand where you are coming from. I myself have 2 FIATs, Uno 1.2 ELX bought used and Palio 1.2 ELPS bought new, and have been at the receiving end of the service a few times. But its sheer pleasure of driving FIATs that takes the cake. FIAT needs to be chastised about the quality of its sales staff at its dealership who most of the time neither have the inclination or desire to learn a bit more about the product than just FE and price. FIAT should teach its sales staff that purchase decisions for a FIAT is made by the heart and not by the mind.
MileCruncher is offline  
Old 12th July 2009, 08:28   #14
Senior - BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Pune
Posts: 2,501
Thanked: 1,269 Times
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by smilenow View Post
Even though i have booked a punto,there are still serious re-considerations going on within the family and as well as my head,regarding whether to pay the extra lac and go for an i20 crdi. And these thoughts are partially supported by the behavior of the dealership itself.

The extra lac for the i20 will equate to peace of mind,better re-sale and an average ride quality. But my heart is with the italians,and the dang head is going with the koreans.
Do you really need a diesel? If you do not intend to resell for a 6 year duration, I am not sure it makes economic sense. And if you will not be loading the car fully,the i20 kappa may be as much car as you need. On the other hand if you do plan to resell, the GP is a big risk. On your own, you will be able to manage the Tata/Fiat service to perform, and that diesel car may still be a good buy. But you may not find buyers willing to do that service to Fiat to get service in return, and resale values will be poor because of that.

Also, remember that the Tata dealerships have their user expectations till now set by the Indica crowd, that are largely cabs that do not bother much about the finer points that you will, as an owner driver. That is what drags the dealership experience down, pre and post sales. Indeed, Tata has managed to sell Indicas in large numbers because the user expectations from the markets to which they sell in large numbers, the taxi segment, are not a great deal different from their historical customer base, the commercial segment.

That is why the Vista is struggling and will struggle - user expectations in its addressed market are very different. The dealerships cannot meet these consistently. And now, the same set has to look at GP buyers. Caveat emptor! And all the best.
Sawyer is online now  
Old 12th July 2009, 08:43   #15
Senior - BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Pune
Posts: 2,501
Thanked: 1,269 Times
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trust_In_Thrust View Post

I could talk about other things also but in the end i will say FIAT A.S.S has improved a lot and hope it stays there and gets better only then will we see the rise of Hot powerful cars from FIAT .


Also inspite of everything FIAT engines run most cars in India now so their life/ built / design is much robust . In spite of poor sales for long time with palio , petra, seina etc they are still here not running away .
No car is perfect, and you make very good points. The thing is, how you deal with the occassional imperfections, that is key to success. As far as the engine is concerned, it is indeed a great design that is manufactured and serviced by other makers. As are the cars it goes into. Actually, the entire Fiat powertrain is very good - as it was in the case of the Uno and the Palio. But the question is how many of us will put up with bits and pieces falling off from the car in this day and age. And service standards that, on an average, are far lower than the competition - I would say that even GM and Ford are better today. There will always be shining exceptions to this, but to sell in volumes the service experience has to change across all service outlets. And doing that is a major,major effort that takes time as well - Maruti has been at it for 25 years, Hyundai for 10, with fanatical focus, with the benefit of a clean slate. Here you are talking about changing a culture. Indeed, some people would even contend whether it can be done at all - a change of culture. But I don't want to get into that minefield!

PS: How much of market is there for hot, powerful cars?? For many of us, FE is a legitimate overriding concern. Besides, do we have the roads and the road culture to drive these hot powerful cars safely?!
Sawyer is online now  
Closed Thread


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Yet Another Fiat Grande Punto MJD -Active on Tbhp blueblooded Test-Drives & Initial Ownership Reports 74 2nd September 2014 12:39
Grande Punto Facelift: From baby Maserati to Punto Evo EDIT: Punto 'My Life' on pg.7 sushanthr77 The International Automotive Scene 167 25th November 2011 12:02
Repeat EXAMM! The ghost of 1st low vs 2nd low descent haunts us again... and how! Tejas@perioimpl 4x4 Excursions 41 23rd September 2010 14:16
Fiat Grande Punto and the new Fiat Sedan; Tata-Fiat JV jkdas The Indian Car Scene 37 4th March 2009 17:01


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 13:08.

Copyright 2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks