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Old 21st June 2009, 12:30   #151
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+100. I am in total agreement with you. Every product needs to be differentiated. By trying to emulate a Maruti, Fiat only stands to lose more than gain. They needed to make the Punto a great fun to drive car with awesome handling. That is the USP of a Fiat. Unfortuntaley they have compromised on performance for mileage and that I feel is going to cost them dear


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Originally Posted by ashwinpak View Post
I have a starnge feeling that FIAT missed the bus this time around too. Who FIAT is tring to attract this time around with the Linea and Punto is the VFM concious and mileage concious buyers. Typically, the Maruti and Hyundai customers. But unfortunately, this is not going to happen. They are people who play safe and would, any day, choose an Alto over a Punto, a Dzire or an accent over the Linea. At best, FIAT would be able to dent the sales of maruti and Hyundai a bit, but it is not going to become a volume player, how hard they try. An average car buyer will not buy a FIAT.

The only folks who would buy the FIAT are the enthusiasts. But then, they need power and better build quality. And both are in short supply here.

Look at what happened to Yamaha. The RX was a scorcher and sold in good numbers, but was not a volume player compared to Hero Honda. Yamaha did the mistake of trying to catch up with Hero Honda by launching crappy bikes such as the YBX, Libero and the Fazer. No ex Hero Honda owners bought a Yamaha however frugal it is. Yamaha realized their folly quite late, but they realized it really well that they trashed all mileage bikes and brought in the R15 and FZ15. Yamaha is back selling good bikes eventhough they will never surpass the sales of the Splendor or the likes.

So, I think that is what FIAT should do. Stop mollifying the mileage janata and bring in good cars albiet at a premium price. The higher premium would offset the profits lost by not being a volume seller.

Any thoughts?
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Old 21st June 2009, 12:35   #152
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Punto means a dot and linea a line.. thats how fiat family names are generated..... great review..very informative...
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Old 21st June 2009, 12:37   #153
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PAVAN KADAM View Post
Just because the car is that damn good than its competitors people tend to tear it down

Punto sure will set the Fiat sales charts and Indian roads on fire.

At the end of the day, lets thank Fiat for such a wonderful car and wish the car best of luck.
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Originally Posted by pedrolourenco View Post
Couldn't agree more. Good that you said it. Had I said it people would have accused me of being a Fiat Fan and not knowing much about cars. Really makes me wonder how much some of the self proclaimed experts really know.
Awesome Pavan & Pedro !! You hit the nail on the head

It's very difficult for any car manufacturer to get 10/10 on car design and manufacture a car that caters to all segments of car lovers. It is a near impossible task. And everybody knows this. Some "love" Palio and some absolutely hate it !! I am sure same will be the case with Punto, but I guess Punto is going to have a lot more "lovers" than "haters"

Let's congratulate Fiat for letting in some fresh air into the market, introducing a competitively priced product and redefining the hatchback segment.

All this is going to make Fiat's competition work harder and the end result is going to benefit only us i.e the customers. Love it or hate it - Grande Punto has surely caused a stir !!
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Old 21st June 2009, 12:47   #154
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Excellent, unbiased Review, GTO.
I sincerely hope that Linea and Punto will revive Fiat in India.
Must admit, disappointed to learn about the rear legroom, and the turning radius.Looks like, this is more of a highway car than a city car. Am not too surprised with the FE.
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Old 21st June 2009, 12:48   #155
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Full points to Fiat for the Punto. I've found is really hilarious that people working so hard to find fault with the Punto. Equally hilarious is how people say the stupid Ritz is a good car. I've been driving Maruti's all my life. Only after a few days in a Palio did I realize what I was missing. The Punto takes it forward from there.
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Old 21st June 2009, 12:53   #156
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GTO's reviews and the consequent discussion by team-bhp members threaten to push auto mags deeper into recession! We know whom to blame if these mags close down

BTW, how much did Fiat save by limiting the car to 4m? Personally, if it is 15-20k, I dont mind paying that much extra if all that extra length goes into improving the knee room of the rear seats. If there is one thing that Fiat has to fix in Punto to increase volumes, it is NOT to get more powerful engines but to increase the rear seat legroom by an inch or two
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Old 21st June 2009, 12:58   #157
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Superb Review! You've raised the bar high for future reviews. Terrific looking car and killer pricing too.

IMO, FIAT should have given the MJD VGT atleast as a higher end variant.

One basic question since I didnt see any TD markings on these vehicles: Where will these journo TD vehicles eventually land up? Will they get dumped to ignorant customers?

Last edited by Digital Vampire : 21st June 2009 at 12:59.
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Old 21st June 2009, 12:59   #158
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashwinpak View Post
I have a starnge feeling that FIAT missed the bus this time around too. Who FIAT is tring to attract this time around with the Linea and Punto is the VFM concious and mileage concious buyers. Typically, the Maruti and Hyundai customers. But unfortunately, this is not going to happen. They are people who play safe and would, any day, choose an Alto over a Punto, a Dzire or an accent over the Linea. At best, FIAT would be able to dent the sales of maruti and Hyundai a bit, but it is not going to become a volume player, how hard they try. An average car buyer will not buy a FIAT.

The only folks who would buy the FIAT are the enthusiasts. But then, they need power and better build quality. And both are in short supply here.

Look at what happened to Yamaha. The RX was a scorcher and sold in good numbers, but was not a volume player compared to Hero Honda. Yamaha did the mistake of trying to catch up with Hero Honda by launching crappy bikes such as the YBX, Libero and the Fazer. No ex Hero Honda owners bought a Yamaha however frugal it is. Yamaha realized their folly quite late, but they realized it really well that they trashed all mileage bikes and brought in the R15 and FZ15. Yamaha is back selling good bikes eventhough they will never surpass the sales of the Splendor or the likes.

So, I think that is what FIAT should do. Stop mollifying the mileage janata and bring in good cars albiet at a premium price. The higher premium would offset the profits lost by not being a volume seller.

Any thoughts?
I would completely disagree with this. For once an Indian car buyer would forgive if the service isnt good but he will not buy a car if its not fuel efficient, no matter how good it is. The premium that a car maker can ask is dependent on how good the sales are which in turn is dependent on the fuel efficiency of the car. The first thing that any Honda City owners tells me about his car is how good the fuel average is! And why do you think Skoda exceeded in India? The 1.9 TDi diesel and the Skoda brand was built on it. The average layman on the road doesnt know a thing about steering feel (my friend say wagon r's steering is better when compared to my palio becasue it is lighter!), build quality (else I cant justify seeing so many Maruti's on the roads) or ride and handling. The good thing about Indian car market is that we have our priority very clear, fuel efficiency, otherwise no matter how good the car is, it will fail miserably. The other factor is the perceived value. I can give you numerous examples of car which strictly are average but are huge success because of the same factor.
And lets not confuse build quality with plastic quality of the trims inside. The build quality is still as good as it can be and the other typical Fiat traits are still there like brilliant steering, ride and handling balance and the indestructible feel that you get driving over poor roads. It has been mentioned in this very review that after 650 kms of thrashing over varied terrian the car didnt even had a single rattle from anywhere inside or outside the car. This is still a proper pukka Fiat because as GTO puts it... you want to buy it because you want it. First look and it does something to you which cannot be quantified. A Fiat lover would still love the perfectly weighted steering, the poise and the ride and handling. If people still swear by Palio 1.2, the Punto with its combination of decent economy and performance should win them over. What good is a car which is capable of doing 200 kmph but is nervous over 120!
Can you give me an example of car which is fuel in-efficient and is still a success in India? I can give you numerous examples of car which are fuel efficient but worse than the other cars in the segment. Car market isnt about enthusiasts, they make up a very small number which is team-bhp. The rest is just a crowd who use it as an A to B transport and play it safe. Speaking for myself, I can't buy a car that I dont Desire. Clearly then this car isnt just for the enthusiats but also for the general car buying public.

The 2 wheeler world is also a parallel to the 4 wheeler world. The 100cc still brings the volumes even though you may say that 150cc are almost as efficient. CBZ was a failure because the Pulsar was 'also' 150cc and more efficient and we all know which was a better bike. The 150cc are always advertised as powerful and fuel efficient and not just powerful. Hero Honda is still the biggest 100cc player even though there are better bikes to be had. In India mediocrity rules, the best and the worst doesnt work here.

Sorry for the long post.

Last edited by extreme_torque : 21st June 2009 at 13:11.
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Old 21st June 2009, 13:16   #159
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Just reading the Autocar India review on the Grande Punto, it takes a disappointing 17.85 secs for the 1.3MJD to reach from 0 -100. That's even slower than my Logan... and i was complaining

Last edited by anilkalvani : 21st June 2009 at 13:17.
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Old 21st June 2009, 13:19   #160
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Hey GTO! I was there at your guys lunch at Savoy At Karnal, Saw all the cars. But wasn't able to locate you.
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Old 21st June 2009, 13:31   #161
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nurni76 View Post
By trying to emulate a Maruti, Fiat only stands to lose more than gain. They needed to make the Punto a great fun to drive car with awesome handling. That is the USP of a Fiat.
I disagree with that and agree with what e_t has to say.

Ford has a driver's delight in the Fiesta 1.6. How many of these did Ford sell and how many of NHC's and SX4's did Honda and Maruti sell? When Fiat was selling the GTX people said who wants performance and the mileage is too less. Now when Fiat is giving a car with great mileage people are saying we want performance! Damned if they do and damned if they don't.

A car is the second most expensive thing that people buy after a house. Most people will give preference to after sales service over handling, to mileage over 0-100 timing, and comfortable ride over cornering ability. I can bet that if you ask people why you bought the Punto, 9 out of 10 will say because of mileage or looks rather then sharp steering, great build quality, safety features, Blue&Me and ride and handling.

As for the USP of the car, there is plenty. It's build quality is leagues ahead of all small cars today, maybe on par with i20 and Fabia and even better then many sedans. The ride and handling and steering is better then cars costing twice as much. I have owned a Fiat for over 5 years and I would buy this car because it has a lot of the traditional Fiat traits. Lots of complaints about interiors too but except for the Fabia and i20, which car has better quality plastics then the Punto? And Fabia costs more then Punto.

Such regular cars for the masses are very important. It's these 'cars for the masses' that will bring the 'cars for the enthusiasts' back into our market. If the Punto 1.3MJD is a blockbuster best seller, the Punto 1.6MJD and Punto 1.4TJet are not far away and when these cars do come in, Fiat will find it easiest to launch these cars as they have the suspension and steering already set up for such performance cars.

Anyway, I have a very serious question.

How much better would a Punto MJD with pete's tuning box be? I know power will go upto 90bhp (more then Linea! Yay!) but what about torque? From 197Nm@1,75rpm it will improve to what? Also, people who have peted their cars, please tell me how much improvement do you feel in your cars?

Last edited by amit : 21st June 2009 at 13:33.
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Old 21st June 2009, 13:57   #162
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I guess that my earlier post was too long and that confused you a bit. I agree with whatever you say here. All I intend to say is that no matter how fuel-efficient you make a Punto (or for that matter any FIAT), an average Indian buyer is not going to buy it. Even with a mileage of 40kmpl. All it is left with are the enthusiasts, who wouldn't mind paying a premium for a good car.

With the current gamble, FIAT has lost both the groups, the mileage concious buyers and the enthusiasts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by extreme_torque View Post
I would completely disagree with this. For once an Indian car buyer would forgive if the service isnt good but he will not buy a car if its not fuel efficient, no matter how good it is. The premium that a car maker can ask is dependent on how good the sales are which in turn is dependent on the fuel efficiency of the car. The first thing that any Honda City owners tells me about his car is how good the fuel average is! And why do you think Skoda exceeded in India? The 1.9 TDi diesel and the Skoda brand was built on it. The average layman on the road doesnt know a thing about steering feel (my friend say wagon r's steering is better when compared to my palio becasue it is lighter!), build quality (else I cant justify seeing so many Maruti's on the roads) or ride and handling. The good thing about Indian car market is that we have our priority very clear, fuel efficiency, otherwise no matter how good the car is, it will fail miserably. The other factor is the perceived value. I can give you numerous examples of car which strictly are average but are huge success because of the same factor.
And lets not confuse build quality with plastic quality of the trims inside. The build quality is still as good as it can be and the other typical Fiat traits are still there like brilliant steering, ride and handling balance and the indestructible feel that you get driving over poor roads. It has been mentioned in this very review that after 650 kms of thrashing over varied terrian the car didnt even had a single rattle from anywhere inside or outside the car. This is still a proper pukka Fiat because as GTO puts it... you want to buy it because you want it. First look and it does something to you which cannot be quantified. A Fiat lover would still love the perfectly weighted steering, the poise and the ride and handling. If people still swear by Palio 1.2, the Punto with its combination of decent economy and performance should win them over. What good is a car which is capable of doing 200 kmph but is nervous over 120!
Can you give me an example of car which is fuel in-efficient and is still a success in India? I can give you numerous examples of car which are fuel efficient but worse than the other cars in the segment. Car market isnt about enthusiasts, they make up a very small number which is team-bhp. The rest is just a crowd who use it as an A to B transport and play it safe. Speaking for myself, I can't buy a car that I dont Desire. Clearly then this car isnt just for the enthusiats but also for the general car buying public.

The 2 wheeler world is also a parallel to the 4 wheeler world. The 100cc still brings the volumes even though you may say that 150cc are almost as efficient. CBZ was a failure because the Pulsar was 'also' 150cc and more efficient and we all know which was a better bike. The 150cc are always advertised as powerful and fuel efficient and not just powerful. Hero Honda is still the biggest 100cc player even though there are better bikes to be had. In India mediocrity rules, the best and the worst doesnt work here.

Sorry for the long post.
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Old 21st June 2009, 14:06   #163
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Originally Posted by ashwinpak View Post

The only folks who would buy the FIAT are the enthusiasts. But then, they need power and better build quality. And both are in short supply here.
Ummm.. don't you think that is exactly the reason why Fiat has launched this car ?!?!?!?!?!?! They don't want "only" the car enthusiasts to buy the car. They want the general public to buy the car too because that is where the money and volume comes from. Simple economics ain't it ???

Ohh.. and talking about cost of ownership ... the Punto servicing is at an interval of 15,000 kms compared to 5000 or 7500 for Maruti's. Add Punto's fuel efficiency factor to it ? Which do you think has the lower cost of maintenance ??

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashwinpak View Post
So, I think that is what FIAT should do. Stop mollifying the mileage janata and bring in good cars albiet at a premium price. The higher premium would offset the profits lost by not being a volume seller.

Any thoughts?
And how would Fiat justify this decision to its stakeholders ? Do you have any statistical data, demographic distribution, income group distribution of India to support your hypothesis ?
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Old 21st June 2009, 14:08   #164
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashwinpak View Post
an average Indian buyer is not going to buy it. Even with a mileage of 40kmpl. All it is left with are the enthusiasts, who wouldn't mind paying a premium for a good car.

With the current gamble, FIAT has lost both the groups, the mileage concious buyers and the enthusiasts.
I think you are seriously under estimating the Indian consumer !! Let's all wait for a couple of months .. let the real FE and sales figures come in .. All of us will know
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Old 21st June 2009, 14:09   #165
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amit View Post
Anyway, I have a very serious question.

How much better would a Punto MJD with pete's tuning box be? I know power will go upto 90bhp (more then Linea! Yay!) but what about torque? From 197Nm@1,75rpm it will improve to what? Also, people who have peted their cars, please tell me how much improvement do you feel in your cars?
To 215 Nm at the same RPM.
Pete's Automotive Products Pvt Limited

See the torque curve here:
http://petes.in/images/fiat75.xls

i do not have hands on experience. There are some case studies on Peted Swift and Octavia in this forum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amoghchaphalkar View Post
I think you are seriously under estimating the Indian consumer !! Let's all wait for a couple of months .. let the real FE and sales figures come in .. All of us will know
I would be more than happy if I am proved wrong.

Last edited by Rehaan : 21st June 2009 at 23:56. Reason: Posts merged. Please use the MULTIQUOTE function instead of making consecutive posts within 20minutes of each other. Thanks.
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