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Old 10th September 2009, 11:59   #1
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Default To Fiat In A Fiat All Along The Monsooned Roads

I had requested for a plant visit on CEO comment/feedback. I got a reply from them to pick a day for the visit. I was overwhelmed with a positive response from Fiat. Scheduled the visit for the 5th of September 2009. Planned to leave by 6 pm on 3rd September 2009, visit Jog falls, Unchalli Falls and then drive down to Pune via Hubli.

Day 1: 3rd September 2009: Started about a couple of hours late from the scheduled start and drove down via the Nice Road to Nelamangala from RR Nagar. Reached Shimoga at 1 am. Took a room to doze off for the day.

Day 2: 4th September 2009: Started at 7 am from Shimoga and drove down to Sagar. We had breakfast at Sagar and proceeded towards Jog.

Reached by 9:15 am, initially very excited with the mist, but disappointed a little later as this hid the falls completely. It started raining, so was waiting around the place for the rain to stop. But a brisk breeze cleared up the mist which ensured I got busy with clicking pics.

Then my companions decided to trek to the bottom of the falls. I was OK with myself waiting inside the car half asleep. After a couple hours they return completely drenched in rain.

After they got back to normal dresses, we left for Unchalli Falls. This is one splendid falls. We reached Unchalli falls by 12.30 pm. It was raining pretty heavy. Decided to give the umbrellas a bit of a workout. Reached the view point again completely misty, there was no letting from the mist. All along the leeches gave us company at the falls. The noise at the falls was deafening but we could not see the waterfalls due to the mist. We waited for about 45 mins for the mist to clear, but to no avail, we decided to move on. Drove till Sirsi and stopped over for lunch. Then drove through Yellapur to Dharwad to reach the Bangalore – Pune highway. After hitting the Bangalore – Pune highway at 7 pm and with about 430 odd kms still to go for Pune, started upping the speed, but the situation got only worse as it started to pour. The average speed being low due to rain, reached Pune by 1:30 am. Was tired and hit the sack for a sound sleep. But invariably I could not sleep, thinking about the next day’s program.

Day 3: 5th September 2009: Got up early, the executive from Fiat was ready to meet up with me. We headed off to the factory. The factory is about 57 kms from Pune. Reached the factory by 11 am. Delay as we visited a Ganapati Temple on the way. The findings from the visit will be put in a new thread.

After the visit around the plant, decided to visit Shirdi which is about 150 kms from the factory and about 200 kms from Pune. The roads till Ahmednagar were good and then from there on it was a night mare till about 20 odd kms to Shirdi.

A routine temple visit and dinner, hit the sack for a sound sleep after 2 days.

Day 4: 6th September 2009: Got up a little late, and finished the pending visits to numerous spots in Shirdi. Started from Shirdi via the same route I came from. Drove till Pune outskirts on the Bangalore – Pune highway. Stopped at a fuel pump and also a dhaba was located there. Finished lunch and chilled out for about an hour. And started driving back. It was very leisurely drive cruising all along. Then unfortunately had a puncture so wasted another hour and half. Then after the puncture was fixed, drove on till Belgaum for a coffee break. Another delay here, because the milk was still on its way. In the meanwhile was playing with the Labrador dog that the hotel owner had. Then after the milk arrived, another 40 mins gone. Then drove up to Dharwad to stop for dinner. An hour gone. Stopped at Dharwad to withdraw money and refuel. Required quite bit of money due to the toll that one pays all along the highway.

From Haveri toll to Hiriyur toll the road is in very poor condition. Seriously pissed off with the road condition as I could not maintain even a decent average speed. Took about 3.5 hours to cross this stretch. Then from there on, the traffic was high in the night all along the highway till The NICE Road. Finally reached home by 6:15 am on Monday.

Now the pictures.
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Old 10th September 2009, 12:09   #2
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This is going to be interesting. Not only we are in for a travelogue but a real time experience at a factory as well
.
Great stuff! Keep it rolling!
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Old 10th September 2009, 12:15   #3
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Updates on vehicle performance
  1. No second thoughts on the vehicle being underpowered with AC on. But without AC its quite OK
  2. The ride quality is what this car excels at, bad roads are no more a worry when you drive a Palio
  3. The steering response in the ghat sections very good.
  4. Spongy brakes. Lock up very easily . Looking to change the wheel to alloys and better rubber
  5. High beam not so useful, but the low beam has good spread. Will hook up the Hella 700FF lights for the highway drives, hopefully with a HID
  6. Mileage details enclosed below
Quantity: 142.61 litres
Average cost: Rs. 49.41 per litre
Total Cost: Rs. 7010.81
Total kms: 2279
Mileage: 15.98 kmpl
AC Usage: 50%

PS: there was quite a bit of idling to run the AC when stand still.

Also I believe I got cheated at a BP petrol bunk somewhere near Satara. The fuel meter just jumped to Rs 300 from 0 . Not sure if actually the fuel for the first 300 rupees went in. This was old type fuel dispenser.
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Old 10th September 2009, 12:36   #4
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Default To Fiat In A Fiat

I had requested for a plant visit on the CEO corner in the Fiat India website. Got a reply the next day directing the PR team to arrange the visit. Pretty impressed with the quick response. The date was fixed as 5th September 2009. The trip log is on the another thread.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ml#post1475288 (To Fiat In A Fiat All Along The Monsooned Roads)

I have no pics of the plant as I was communicated that the photography inside the plant is not allowed.

A few details about the Fiat Factory

Location: MIDC Ranjangaon

Work force: 2200 employees in the Car plant and 700 employees in the engine plant

Models produced: Punto, Linea, Palio, Old Indica and the new X1 Sedan

Current production (Car plant) – 250 anticipating this to go up during the month of September. Punto – 170, Linea – 80 (only the new plant and not the palio/Indica assembly line)

Current production (Power Train plant) – 250 FIRE engines and 300 SDE engines produced per day, 8000 units exported on a monthly basis

Production system – UTA - United Technical Areas - 7 UTAs, one body shop and paint shop. One shift for the body shop, paint shop, trim lines. 2 shifts for the finish Line. To go up to 2 shifts for all departments once the X1 sedan manufacturing starts next month

Quality Control – Quality control and assurance for procurement of parts, internal quality control team for process and QC team for the product. Also has a 40 member IQS team to sort out the Quality issues, customer issues (technical) and fix those issues at the assembly line if required.

Test Track – A new test track is being built and is in its final stage of completion


Updates on Punto & Linea - 1.4 Turbojet and 1.6 MJD is on test. However launch date was not revealed. The current Linea engine will eventually replace the punto engine (from FGT to VGT). Punto Sports will be launched with the both the new engine options. However, no timeline was revealed. Saw the test cars with no badge on the car.

Update on Palio - The production of Palio 1.1 is currently stopped. Very few in the stock yard as well. The person was hinting at a makeover of the Palio both interior and exterior. The FGs were very tight lipped about Palio. Also mentioned the Palio platform is old and will not be integrated with the Punto/Linea assembly line.

A few questions put forth to both the PR, Operations guy and a technical guy and the responses received.
PS: FG = Fiat Guys

Me: Since it’s been more than 6 months from the Linea launch, is Linea selling as per the targeted sales.
FG: It is actually well, but less than what we had targeted. However the production has been adjusted accordingly.
Me: How aware do you think the market is aware that a car by name Punto and Linea is actually available and it is manufactured by Fiat?
FG: The marketing is with TATA and we do not have input or contribution to the same. But we want word of mouth publicity more than the advertisements
Me: Fiat cars are perceived as fuel guzzlers. However, which is not the case with Linea and the Punto. What effort has been made to publicize the same?
FG: The cars are pretty efficient on mileage, and the ARAI test numbers are displayed at the showroom
Me: Why have the ads on TV almost stopped for both Linea and Punto?
FG: No idea. TATA is handling the marketing for Fiat


It clearly shows that the FIAT is playing no part in marketing the car, which is very sad. However, I gave my point of view to at least to ensure the market awareness on the company’s products in increased. Advertise on the fuel efficiency figures that the owners are getting along with the test mileage from ARAI

Next topic was when on the visit to the Power train plant in the same facility.
Me: Any engines being manufactured?
FG: No new engines apart from the FIRE (1.2, 1.4) and SDE (1.3 FGT, VGT) being produced. But the 1.4 T-jet and 1.6 MJD engines in the pipeline. These engines are already on test.
Me: Percentage of localization on the engine.
FG: Most of the basic parts such as the casting, crankshafts are all imported to ensure high quality. However all the engine parts are assembled here. We also export the engines to South Africa.
Me: What are the current PPM levels of part failures?
FG: We are not in a position to reveal this information
Me: There are quite a few niggling issues like chrome strip falling off, seat going down on its own, plastic issues. What actions are taken to fix this at the factory level rather than fixing it at the service centers?
FG: we have a 40 member IQS team to sort out the Quality issues, customer issues (technical) and fix those issues at the assembly line wherever required. We are very serious about the customer satisfaction and hence the 40 member IQS team nominated to resolve the issues.

Me: Why was the Fox trot Azure color not launched earlier as this color adds more charm to the car?
FG: Fox trot Azure color launched off late as the export to South Africa started early last month and this color was very important for South African Market.
Me: Why was the Vocal White color discontinued as this color gave a royal look to the car?
FG: This paint shade has an adhesive problem (Paint peeling off when an adhesive tape is removed from the car). They are working on sorting this out and reintroduce this color. Actually the stock yard has about 200 cars of this color (info from the FG)
Me: Any other new colors being introduced on Linea and Punto?
FG: For the time being NO

I thought it was enough of bugging these guys with the questions. So quietly finished the visit of the engine/Power train plant.

Also saw the X1 sedan – a pilot batch of 15 have already been produced apart from the test cars. All the pilot batch cars are in black color. It looks quite good from the front and the rear seemed like an afterthought addition, however way better than the Swift Dzire. Had a look at the interior, look better than the current Indigo, fit and finish level also seemed a lot better. However cannot comment until the regular production starts by the month end or early next month. X1 will come with the 1.3 FGT engine along with the 1.4 FIRE engine.

I need to mention this. The response to my request was quick and prompt. The arrangements for my stay the previous day was fantastic with very reasonable price for what was offered. Last but not the least, the hospitality was fantastic.

Last edited by nkrishnap : 10th September 2009 at 12:39.
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Old 10th September 2009, 12:46   #5
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Very nice of Fiat to arrange for a factory tour for one / few person.

So VGT will replace FGT in Punto and Linea will get 1.6L MJD. When the hell will Punto get the 1.6 MJD?!

OK. Forget the 1.6 MJD. Just give me the 1.4 T-Jet Punto!

Quote:
1.4 Turbojet and 1.6 MJD is on test. The current Linea engine will eventually replace the punto engine (from FGT to VGT). Punto Sports will be launched with the both the new engine options.
A bit confused here. Punto sports will be launched with which new engines? Linea's 1.3 VGT or the 1.6 MJD and T-Jet?
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Old 10th September 2009, 12:49   #6
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Great News Krishna, Nice to read the update from the horses mouth on whats happening in FIAT.
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Old 10th September 2009, 12:55   #7
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Excellent news about the new engines. So Fiat is aware that both their new cars ar relatively underpowered. Looks like the Linea with the 1.4 Tjet will be my Ikon replacement when it arrives
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Old 10th September 2009, 13:20   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amit View Post
Very nice of Fiat to arrange for a factory tour for one / few person.

So VGT will replace FGT in Punto and Linea will get 1.6L MJD. When the hell will Punto get the 1.6 MJD?!

OK. Forget the 1.6 MJD. Just give me the 1.4 T-Jet Punto!

A bit confused here. Punto sports will be launched with which new engines? Linea's 1.3 VGT or the 1.6 MJD and T-Jet?
The regular version will have the 1.3 VGT and the sports version with both the 1.4 T-jet and 1.6 MJD engines. But still on the testing phase, the FGs did not reveal too much information even on insisting the same information with different questions. They are very tight lipped on the time lines.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ravikn View Post
Great News Krishna, Nice to read the update from the horses mouth on whats happening in FIAT.
Yes. The activity at the plant was bussing. Both at the corporate office and the Plant. That too being a saturday.
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Old 10th September 2009, 13:21   #9
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OT

So, You had a look at 'X1', how would you compare the car in person to the fake images by many auto mags. Is it really a Vista with a Boot? How bout Fit and Finish?

What did you right in mail at CEO corner to earn the plant visit?
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Old 10th September 2009, 13:26   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akhilesh51 View Post
OT

So, You had a look at 'X1', how would you compare the car in person to the fake images by many auto mags. Is it really a Vista with a Boot? How bout Fit and Finish?

What did you right in mail at CEO corner to earn the plant visit?
Yes. I had a quite a close look at the X1. The car looks much better than the pics floating around. It is indeed Vista with a boot. But I think they have stretched the wheelbase a bit to cover the boot add on. Which ever way they boot is better integrated than the swift dzire.

Fit and finish is definitely a step forward than the previous generation indigo. The car I had a look was multijet. the engine noise outside was a lil higher than normal, may be due to the enclosed area where I had a look. They black colored car look good with Chrome on the Front Grill and a big TATA logo.

On what I wrote at the CEO Corner, its a secret .
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Old 10th September 2009, 13:45   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nkrishnap View Post
The regular version will have the 1.3 VGT and the sports version with both the 1.4 T-jet and 1.6 MJD engines.
Fantastic information man. I hope they launch the sports edition with a different set of interiors as well
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Old 10th September 2009, 13:50   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nkrishnap View Post
Yes. I had a quite a close look at the X1. The car looks much better than the pics floating around. It is indeed Vista with a boot. But I think they have stretched the wheelbase a bit to cover the boot add on. Which ever way they boot is better integrated than the swift dzire.
.

Was the speedometer cluster in the centre or right side for the X1?
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Old 10th September 2009, 13:54   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vikasb View Post
Fantastic information man. I hope they launch the sports edition with a different set of interiors as well
Add six speed gear and a dualogic box in the wishlist.
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Old 10th September 2009, 14:15   #14
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Great report. It's a complete shocker that Fiat has no input into marketing its own cars.
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Old 10th September 2009, 14:21   #15
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Congrats Krishna for making it to the Fiat factory!
Some of us from PUG were planning to visit, but yet to be materialized...

Did you click any pics? If so, pls do share.
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