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Old 31st August 2005, 21:28   #46
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guys, good points - as a fiat owner let me chime in...

revmaster point 4 is superb - make existing customers feel great, because the pride that a fiat owner has is essentially why fiat is selling it's cars today.

i don't think the niche player will work IMO - fiat's speciality is in the volume market - that's where they have their expertise -

contract marketing may not, either. it will work for the new jtd diesel engine, which will be manufactured by maruti and opel under license from fiat - but that's the only way it will work. contracting to other companies as a parts manufacturer entails a severe reduction in margins - fiat is after all, not a parts manufacturer - they are a car maker, and that's the only way to go to remain big.

i think, fiat desperately needs to define a USP - right now, they are worried about FE and that's holding them back - when i was in the market for a car - everyone told me one thing - it guzzles fuel...

i say, catch the bull by the horns - open up a new avenue of probability - talk about what no one else can in this segment - things that fiat has in plenty...talk about ride performance, comfort and safety - let people visit their showrooms with that in mind. that's what fiat is all about - and that's what they gotta shout from the rooftops. if they are gonna be running scared about what they are good at, that's the end.

after all, even if fiat is selling 150 cars a month today - you look at it the other way. 150 people every month are buying a fiat against all odds. why would they do that - surely they think it's the best car by far in this segment - there's no other reason why anybody would buy a fiat car today!!!

let's see, if there are mass takers for performance, handling and safety? that's fiat's USP. in whatever words you wanna put it. lets make people aware if fiat's true strengts - after all, everyone knows the FE and ASS is bad ...ASS can improve, FE, i say, let it take a back seat to the USP - in reality, that's the way it should be anyways.
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Old 31st August 2005, 21:40   #47
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Let me add my 2 cents here.

1. We all know Fiat's biggest problem is After Sales service. Sure that has been improving and I personally never had any problems with fiat dealers. Anuroop has always given me wonderful service but ya my car never had any issues so that helped. Still there are people crying about bad After sales service. Frankly, right now no one is going to invest crores in setting up a fiat dealership. I love their cars but if i had to put up a dealership I would rather go for maruti or hyundai. That is the problem. Low sales, not sure of companies committment etc.
The solution I feel is set up service centers. You don't need to set up Sales (3S type) outlets. This will reduce invesments of local business guys and ensure that they keep earning money and reduce losses. We all know servicing a car is more profitable then selling one. Sure provision can be made for a sales outlet in case demand picks up. This should be done in areas like Bangalore where i believe sundaram is the only dealer. Monopoly makes people lethargic. Cover every city with service centers. There is no service center in navi mumbai. Set one up but do it properly. Appoint professional business men and professional well trained knowledgable mechanics. This can really be a huge confidence booster in the minds of people. If they want to reduce investments further, appoint petrol pumps to carry out service. Give them equipments, spares and training. and yea cover the highways too. Nothing gives more confidence to people then to see a company authorised service center on highways.

2. The done to death idea. marketing, marketing & marketing. Hardly anyone knew that the Petra was launched, how do you expect to sell your product if the market isn't aware of it's existance. I had sent a email to fiat giving them idea's on marketing. I even made a few advertisements and sent them asking them to show it their ad agency to refine them. I got a thank you email and till today i haven't seen any of the advertisements. If you guys manage to get a appointment with the Fiat MD, I could give you guys the idea and you could show it to him directly.

3. I am sure Fiat knows the Palio failed due to market perception that it's fuel efficency is low. That is why they launched the NV and they did a good job with the NV. The car has about 1-1.5kmpl less then Santro/wagon R. Thats great but people still think Palio has low FE. Has the company done anything to counter that?
Have a Palio Mileage rally. I believe they had it once but how many know? This is a favorite with Indians. Even Gm had one for the Optra! But yes, make a noise about it. Everyone should know about it. Have great prizes for the winner. Give the top 3 cars free servicing for 3 years or something like that.

4. Have a Fiat product show. Get a few Alfa Romeo's, Fiat stilo's , Panda's , heck get the new grande punto put these cars on trucks on take them round the country. Give people test drives in these cars. Let the people know fiat's history.

5. Bring transparency in dealerships. I had mentioned this earlier and i repeat it now. Offer the customers a chance to see their cars getting serviced. Let the customers be with the mechanic when he is servicing the car. Let the customer see the oil being changed, genuine spares being used. This will be a industry first. Every company is highly secretive about the service area. Do the opposite. Zap the customer with freindliness, transparency & openness.

6. Lastly, we need to talk to Fiat top guys. Maybe they are having problems with their head office. We need to know their side of the story too. Same with dealers. Get dealers with you guys and hold a meeting with fiat top guys. Let the dealers have a open one on one with the CEO so he knows where the company is lacking in support and what they need to do to help their own dealers.
There are lots of ideas. I will think of more. But ya guys, try and get to meet the CEO and let me know, rev. I will email you with the ad ideas or if you want i can do it here and you can pick it up from here. any which way you want.
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Old 1st September 2005, 00:52   #48
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Scene 1: I am talking with few friends, who met me after long time. They congratulated me on new car and one casually asked
He : which car?
Me : It's Fiat Petra.
He : Oh, you mean Palio.
Me : No. I mean Petra.
He : Oh I see..umm..well..never knew.

Scene 2: Again met another group of friends from my native. One of my friends owns a S10. Others know and like its performance.
He : I heard, you bought new car.
Me : Yes. Bought Petra.
He : Are you stupid? Or you had too much money? I am trying to sell mine and not getting even 3 Lakh for my 6+L car.
friend 2: Doesn't it give 9-10 avergage? At least, you should have asked us before buying. My 800 gives 18+ and my Santro never gives less than 16 in city. You should have bought Indica or Santro. If you want big car, buy Maruti (Baleno). It must be giving good average.

Scene 3: I am in car with my close friend, who was with me at the time of my car delivery. 6 months later, we are driving towards Mulshi on pathetic potholed road.
He : Tell me one thing. Why did you buy this car?
Me : Why? Dont you like the car?
He : The car is very good. But, you should buy one which is at least seen on roads. You then know that not so many people can go wrong.

Scene 4: Talking with my best friend, now in Japan for couple of years.
He : I am planning to buy a car once I am back.
Me : Which one?
He : I dont care. I want to buy car which gives me best mileage.
Me : So, you mean 800? Or NHC?
He : Whichever gives more mileage.
Me : <dumbstruck>

4 scenes. Perfect examples of Indian car buyer's psyche.

Do I like my car? Very much. I am more than happy.
-> Will I buy it if time rolls back? Without doubt. Only this time, I'll buy ELX and not EL.
Do they like my car? Yes. They really like its performance, ride and big car feel.
-> Will they buy it? Not even in their dreams.

All petrolheads are going to hate me for saying this, but anyway...
Magic mantra of Indian car sales : FE, FE......FE and then the rest.

JTD has all potential to bring Fiat back in the market with a big bang. Economy and performance. Now, if only they realise it.
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Old 1st September 2005, 01:14   #49
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Quote:
JTD has all potential to bring Fiat back in the market with a big bang. Economy and performance. Now, if only they realise it.
Even then Fiat will lose out to Maruti because Indian's will say that Maruti has better After sales Service and of course, Fiat may pull out of India anytime. I guess if they have a new palio or idea or some new car then people may feel that Fiat is here to stay.
That's one more issue they have to address. Right now, almost everyone feels Fiat will go the Daewoo way. The way out:
1. Appoint more dealers. Easier said then done. At least have more service centers like i suggested.
2. launch new cars. Get the New palio in prefrably with JTD from day one. Also launch the Idea or Panda or the current Punto. Of course, this has to be done after re-vamping the service and dealership issues.
3. Address the market perception of low FE. I have said this earlier and I say it again. The Palio NV gives about 1-2kmpl less then Santro and wagon R. It's mileage is better then Indica petrol and corsa sail. I don't see how the car has low FE. Same with Petra. The mileage of Petra is pretty much normal for a 1.6L DOHC 100bhp engine. I guess Fiat has to educate the ignorant indian car buyer. Some one has to do it. Too many good cars don't sell here because of the market perception that it has low FE.
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Old 1st September 2005, 10:03   #50
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http://in.today.reuters.com/news/new...a-214526-1.xml

By Gianni Montani

TURIN (Reuters) - Fiat will see a turnaround in the fourth quarter, when sales of its restyled Punto model will prove crucial to results, the group's chief executive said on Wednesday.

Earlier this month, Fiat unveiled a three-year industrial plan that included investment of 9.6 billion euros ($11.83 billion) and the launch of new cars including a revamped version of its best-selling Punto.

"The group is pulling ahead, and the performance of the new Punto in the last part of this year will be very important," Sergio Marchionne said on the sidelines of a conference.

Asked if 2005 will be the year of Fiat's turnaround, Marchionne said, "The last quarter (of 2005) will be the turnaround."

The Punto makes up a quarter of Fiat Auto's turnover, and Marchionne has said he expects Fiat to sell 80,000 new Puntos by the end of the year.

Analysts expect the Fiat group to return to net profit this year after years of losses. For the second quarter this year, Fiat reported net profit of 217 million euros, compared with a net loss of 246 million in the same period in 2004.

At 1025 GMT, shares in Fiat were up 1 percent at 7.16 euros, against a flat DJ Stoxx index of European




http://www.galwayindependent.com/motoring/4667.html

New James Bond drive a Fiat Panda?

Spoiled by Aston Martins and BMWs, James Bond may be getting a lowly Fiat Panda 4x4. Fiat confirmed it gave two black Panda 4x4s to the producers of the 21st Bond movie, Casino Royale, which is due to be released next year.

Will the Pandas hold up to the secret agent's habitually rough treatment? It's difficult to say because Fiat doesn't know how the filmmaker might use the cars. Anyway the new Mr. Bond - a yet-to-be-named actor who will replace Pierce Brosnan to become the sixth James Bond - might have to change his driving technique.

In the last Bond movie, Die Another Day, Brosman drove a 528hp, 322kph V-12 Aston Martin Vanquish. The new Mr. Bond might have to adapt to the more modest Panda 60hp, 145khp I-4 engine.

The question is: will a Panda-driving Mr. Bond still be able to get the girl?
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Old 1st September 2005, 10:33   #51
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I feel FIAT should launch a model in M800 category ( may be restyled UNO) with a good FE engine. That will get them volumes. All we know that once they have enough number of such cars on road..they can grow into a premium player also.
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Old 1st September 2005, 10:34   #52
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@ RevvMaster, most of my suggestions are already suggested by you! yet, here goes my 2 cents as promised yesterday....

1. First of all the TBHP delegation should meet the top man and try to understand his side of the story. "Sir, how long do you think your company can survive in India?" If he says "mmm..maybe 12 months", have your (Italian) coffee and walk out. If he says "another 50 years perhaps" do the same thing, but (since either he is crazy or a fool or he is brilliant) please ask him what makes him think like that.

2. Fiat is an MNC and we are just a forum. We cannot ask them to stop making the production of car X and launch car Y before this Xmas or lease their plants. So it should not be our "line" in the meeting. We can tell him about the Fiat fans in our forum, and the fact that, TBHPians can influence 2,000 to 10,000 prospective Fiat buyers approx.

3. They should re-launch the web site, and it should have some portal-engineering. The site should have channels for both fiat owners and prospective customers. The existing owners should be able to:
-book service appointments in any Fiat SS
-get the price quote against part no.
-access to a forum-like "ask the expert mechanic" support
- a ref. page where they can bring in prospective customer reference.
and the prospective owners:
- can enquire via online
- Fiat should provide online and refered customers a good company-level discount or "benefit".
In other words, they should aggressively pursue e-marketing. Dealers should come into the picture only as a point-of-actual-sale and nothing more. Fiat should almost direct market their products.

4. regarding the niche market, IMHO they MUSTstart with the IT guys. It will create a synergy with the above-said e-marketing portal idea.

Last edited by sandeepmdas : 1st September 2005 at 10:36.
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Old 1st September 2005, 11:08   #53
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Nice to see such a strong initiative from enthusiasts who have no affiliation to Fiat. If only the Fiat management cared as much.

Well, heres my $ 0.02 (Reposted from a previous note of mine)

Fiat anyways has a product in the B segment that is far far superior to anything else offered. The fault is not in the product, its with the image. Unreturned deposits (Fiat Uno), Horrible sales experience (till date), Poor after sales service (Pre-2004), Exhorbitant prices of parts and labour (taken care of recently) and the fear of a company backing out of India (It almost happened in 2003).

For atleast the next 12 months, what Fiat need to do is focus on the company image and its dealerships, instead of bringing in new products. Look how well Skoda have managed to rebuild their image. This Czech company was absolutely down there a decade back, with horrible products and an even worse sales/service experience. It was so bad that Skoda owners bought a Skoda only coz they could not afford anything else. And then they rebuilt the company...VW that is. Not only did they bring out vastly superior products and quality levels (VW platforms), but they also focussed an equal amount of time on rebuilding their brand image and equity.

Fiat ought to chuck out 50% of their current dealerships...atleast in the metros. All the non-performers should be kicked out. Its a tough call but if they want to show their commitment to the customer, they are gonna have to clean up. Have half of the new dealerships managed by professionals such as the Sanghi Group, Auto Hangar, Concorde etc. since these are organisations that are well versed with taking good care of their customers. I.T. connected showrooms in key locations, charming and well - informed sales persons (training, training, training), Excellent service facilities...the entire mile! The other half should be company-owned retail outlets.

Dealers should be graded by how happy their customers are...not how many Palios/Petras they sell. This is the strategy of Hyundai. Instead of having two or three big dealers in a metro, they opted for 6 - 8 medium sized dealers - The reasoning being that smaller dealerships would be able to offer personalized service to Hyundai customers instead of what volume dealerships would be capable of.


At the corporate end, they must first convince their parent in Italy to consider India as a priority market. Last year, when Fiat SPa was in doldrums, it was published in the wall street that they intended to get out of India...can you then blame the Indian consumer for having no confidence? Such news spreads like wildfire. Show Fiat Italy that the B segment accounts for half of the million car market in India. Renew interest with a long term commitment.

Business faith in place, go on a massive corporate image boosting campaign. Communicate with everyone from the CEO's of top industrialists to the man on the street that Fiat is here to stay and it is doing everything it can to please the Indian customer.

No NV versions or Pandas are going to sell unless a potential customer believes in the long-term presence and a pleasant ownership experience with Fiat.

GTO
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Old 1st September 2005, 11:29   #54
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FYI
http://inhome.rediff.com/money/2005/aug/31fiat.htm
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Old 1st September 2005, 12:04   #55
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I sincerely believe that JTD will play most crucial role in Fiat's revival. It gives performance, which enthusiasts like and it gives mileage, which typical Indian car buyer likes. Hyundai has slowly changed perception about diesel cars with its CRDi, which can help Fiat this time. (Remember, Palio helped Getz and Swift in some sense, since it was the first premium hatchback when market was not ripe enough).

Of course, marketing will play a big big role here. I see people asking for Panda in India. It will fail again if it is again percieved as fuel guzzler. Market JTD engines as *the* option to rising fuel prices and make sure good quality of intial batch of car, which delivers that promise. People will soon forget bad things about Fiat. FE killed Fiat in big way, and it can bring it back in the game as well.

Edit Note: Though I am talking mainly FE here, other points like ASS and dealer network are quite important too.
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Old 1st September 2005, 12:52   #56
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Fiats Problem with JTD? Maruti will be offering it too!
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Old 1st September 2005, 12:57   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO
Fiats Problem with JTD? Maruti will be offering it too!
Yes it will. But that doesnt prevent Fiat from selling it. It will still have advantage over Hyundai, Tata, Opel. Fiat can co-exist with Maruti like we have Hyundai now. If Fiat can sell 2000 cars compared to Maruti's 10,000 cars, it is still good enough to change Fiat India's fortunes.
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Old 1st September 2005, 13:37   #58
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i was wondering wether maruti will rename the JTD and change the badge to suzuki or something.but if they keep the Fiat name on the engine wont that be the biggest publicity for Fiat.

Fiat dont have the money to bring JTD on their own,hence they have allowed maruti to manufacture it for india.IMO both maruti and fiat will launch the JTD powered cars simulaneously.

then Swift milege=Palio milege.

but.they should revamp the palio range.make some small maruti like design changes and then launch the JTD engines.if they can just manage to bring the new palio here and then rename the car and sell it with the JTD then it will most probably work,because the palio name has alredy been associated to fuel gruzler by the indian public and changing their opinion is not easy.

the panda is not going to work.they have to redesign it if they want indians to buy it.bst is why not bring the old punto.its a very good car if they can fit it under 5.5L and then they can continue with the mildly updated palio and relaunch the redesigned uno(just change the lights,grille,rear boot and bumpers).

Last edited by merve_extreme : 1st September 2005 at 13:52.
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Old 1st September 2005, 13:40   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RX135
Yes it will. But that doesnt prevent Fiat from selling it. It will still have advantage over Hyundai, Tata, Opel. Fiat can co-exist with Maruti like we have Hyundai now. If Fiat can sell 2000 cars compared to Maruti's 10,000 cars, it is still good enough to change Fiat India's fortunes.
Guys, the point is "try to compete atleast, Even if you loose teh competetion, you win money by selling products."
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Old 1st September 2005, 14:17   #60
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@DRC, Fiat India first has to fight for its survival and then think about the number 1 spot. Low aim is crime, but unrealistic aim is blunder. Let Fiat India get the numbers churning first. Fiat can not stop Maruti from producing JTD, but they can't hope to survive unless it matchs with its own JTD cars. I am sure, Hyundai will have similar plans.
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