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Old 18th March 2008, 09:47   #1
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Question Why would you not buy FIAT?


My intention is not to start another war and mudslinging match. I request all members to please post your honest views on the topic I am trying to discuss here. Thanks.

After following this forum for the past 6 months, I cannot help but observe a demonstrated hatred for FIAT. While all FIAT users seem to be very happy with their cars (That includes me - who is happy with a STILE SLX, termed as a school-mobile by one of our more knowledgeable BHPian- ), I find that most others are vehemently against anything FIAT. Here is what I have seen:

1. There is not one FIAT owner here who has constant complaints about his car or regrets his decision.

2. While I can see posts from other car owners like:

Niggling issues with SX4
Poor quality of front impact bar of Swift
Door rattles of Maruti cars
and countless others, people stand by Maruti and even go to the extent of saying that a particular problem exists with a particular model and one has to learn to live with it. Classic example being a FIAT owner's new SX4 dragging left or right. Some feel it is due to EPS, some feel it is the tyre pressure and the Maruti guys are not able to do anything.

When FIAT owner point out nice features of their cars, they get brushed aside as over glorification of what is normal. When the same features are pointed out as missing in other cars, they come up with multitude of explanations.

FIAT has not done a run-away act like Peugot, have they? They are still trying to regain lost ground and make a come back. While people like to say that FIAT must bring in the Grande Punto and the Linea soon, they turn a blind eye to our own manufacturers (Tata, MUL) intorducing a different model here and the same model with more advanced features in other countries.

My question is WHY so much of hatred for FIAT

Is it just AS&S and availability of spares?
Is it because everybody loves to indulge in FIAT bashing?
What exactly is it?

When we have so many people looking up to our site for car buying advise, aren't we supposed to be giving out unbiased advise and help them make an educated judgement? Why, oh why, do so many of us - who have neither owned nor driven a FIAT- indulge in so much of FIAT bashing?




PS: MODS - If this thread is not in the right place, please move it to the appropriate place.

Last edited by PatchyBoy : 18th March 2008 at 10:02.
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Old 18th March 2008, 10:06   #2
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Rajan, it does appear that way. Your observation looks quite accurate, Even though the general reactions may be it is more about higher expectations from FIAT than actual dis-like, masked by the apparent targeting.

I have loved the styling, and FIAT is no small baby in the automotive world. They have done their mistakes, and that combined with falling short of a balanced presence in terms of models, features, pricing seems to blow up the situation a tad bigger than it is.

They have some good stuff, but should have been more proactive. Like getting the MJD out faster than letting MS get a head start (un-less there was some kind of contractual obligation that allows MS to get off the blocks first.

Coming to the MJD, wonder why are people expecting a brand new car. It is supposed to be the diesel version of the Stile, and will have mostly similar configuration & specs as the Stile. Interiors, quality, build, styling etc. I have found reactions to the MJD to be harsher than for the Stile. And I am surprised by that.

We didnt see the same with the Swift. We didnt ask for new styling then. Why now ?
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Old 18th March 2008, 10:13   #3
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I think FIAT has not been able to win the TRUST of the consumer. The UNO fiasco and tales of non-availability of spares and service station has kept the buyers away.
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Old 18th March 2008, 10:17   #4
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This is a pretty reasonable thread. I don't own a Fiat but still don't like when people unnecessarily bash the Fiat brand.
I think that same is the case when people bluntly say that the maintenance of the Ford cars is extremely expensive. There are so many Ford owners on this forum who vouch against it. (Sorry for being off the topic)
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Old 18th March 2008, 10:19   #5
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Default Marketing it is, in my humble opinion (IMHO).

In my opinion, Fiat falls short of marketing - aggressive marketing that is. They hardly publish ads. in newspapers (only publish when it is released), while Hyundai and the likes keep on repeated postings. They have a dismal presence on the TV. We all remember the "sunshine" car, but do we recall the Stile? Nah!

They have the best, when it comes to comfort, safety, and engine - but because of the marketing they just die. Indian consumers believe a lot on the adverts, rather than on the actual experience.

IMHO, Fiat should start marketing themselves as the makers' of Ferrari! ;-)

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Old 18th March 2008, 10:26   #6
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Rajan, Nicely compiled one.May be I will share my own experience. I am a newbie not only to T-BHP but in car too. I bought my new & first car 7 months back (Santro). When I started enquiring & browsing forums (At that time I was not aware of T-Bhp) I had a good feedback on Palio stile BUT when I told my friends OR whoever I know,Immediately they discouraged saying, You know "Fiat" has no direct Dealers/ Service Centre.. They have franchised to Tata and Think whether TATA will give preference / Experts on their brand of cars (Tata Indica / Indigo) OR Fiat products and think about the re-sale value.. As you are a first time car buyer why you want to go for anything outside Maruti Or Hyundai .. Not even a single person Encouraged / Said good words which is very important for a first time buyer to gain confidence.My inner feeling is , This is going to be the first car and why we need to take a Different route & get all kind of negative comments daily and then I tried out Wagon-R & Santro XO and bought Santro XO.
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Old 18th March 2008, 10:27   #7
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As of today I would not mind a FIAT car, all thanks to TATA, but before the combine the reason was simple.
FIAT is not capable of supporting the car you buy from them.
For example back home, we have had so much trouble sourcing original parts etc.,
The service centers have this callous attitude. If you like the servicing ok, if you don't go to hell.
When the service centers don't show any care towards your car, and FIAT India does not believe in pulling up its dealers, the trust factor goes for a Toss.

With Tata coming in, there FIAT customers will be treated atleast at par with Tata ones(not that its a very good thing too), but availability of spares is still suspect. esp not common parts.
Brake pads etc., are common parts and so supply in market it ok, but when you have an accident, you require all sorts of uncommon parts.

I have seen members on this very forum waiting for months for their car, because it was lying in the workshop for lack of parts.
If FIAT fans think waiting for your car for months for a simple accident job is acceptable, well then happy FIATing to them.
I for one would refrain from a FIAT till there is surity that in case of a minor mishap I would not be denied use of a car for months.

As for the original poster, hardly anybody says Palio is a bad car per se.
Its the after sales support. You get to see this side only when you require a part for your car which is not commonly used.
Of course FIAT is not alone.
Try finding a clutch plate for Gypsy king in a small-medium town and you will know.

Its simple economics.
When a car sells very low numbers the availability of parts gets rare.

To all Palio diesel owners, please try finding a Glow plug timer(if your car has glow plugs, which I think it does) in the open market. You will see what I mean.

Last edited by tsk1979 : 18th March 2008 at 10:29.
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Old 18th March 2008, 10:31   #8
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I have loved fiat cars and IMO, they have been good VFM vehicles during the past few years (after price corrections of models and spares). In fact I had recommended the Palio to a couple of friends who bought them (soon after the Palio was launched). Let me list my reasons for not buying a Fiat car myself.
  • Poor after sales support. When I bought my swift two years back, Fiat's sales were extremely low and there was no way to guess if the company would pack and go or stay on. So prudence won over the merits of the car.
  • Delayed launch of new models. When other manufacturers are launching cars in India at the same time as (or soon after) their global launches, Fiat is not doing that. Hence the fear of buying into old models.
  • Poor resale value of Fiat cars (because of the above two reasons). People who buy a hatch as their first car would definitely be concerned about resale value.
  • When the Palio Stile was launched, I guess they should have given it a new and fresh looking dashboard (not just offering it in a beige color) and interiors.
In a nutshell, I think Fiat is doing too little too late to show that they care for their customers. Great products with poor sales and support (like my Braun mixer grinder - great product and no support now )

Last edited by pjbiju : 18th March 2008 at 10:37.
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Old 18th March 2008, 10:34   #9
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Fiat (and to a lesser extent GM) have rightly suffered from the early impressions of the mid-1990s when one could not support demand, and one brought obsolete products. To recover, they have to make an extra effort, in lots of investment, extraordinary service levels. Most of all: stand by their products. Sale is only the start, not the end of mission for a car maker.

PS: Toyota and Honda also entered at the same time.
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Old 18th March 2008, 10:37   #10
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Thumbs up

Being a Fiat owner and big time fan of Fiat. I will just ignore all these unnecessary grudge against Fiat. Just waiting for A.S.S of Fiat to improve.
I had noticed in the forums that many people were waiting for the Palio MJD. But after its launch there are hardly any comments.Fiat has an excellent oppurtunity with Punto & Linea!!
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Old 18th March 2008, 10:45   #11
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I think FIAT is being bashed unnecessarily due to their initial failures, although they need to improve their servicability and training the TATA technicians to instill more confidence.
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Old 18th March 2008, 10:49   #12
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You need to make a car and then support it. The latter is not so good with Fiat (We had a Palio, How many Fiat owners have had non-Fiat cars ?)

The problem is Fiat owners never accept this fact. If they do, they become very defensive about it. Its more about the people who own Fiat than Fiat itself. Fiat cars might be good. But Fiat owners think they are good in each and every facet about a car. These are the reasons in my humble opinion.
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Old 18th March 2008, 10:53   #13
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How does a company say its serious about a market?
It does so by introducing new models.
How many new FIATs have come?
1, the MJD.
1.1 and 1.6 are extentions of a five year old powerplant, and that too a step in the wrong direction for the former
Its hard to praise a manufacturer, when this is the level of commitment towards the fastest growing
market in the world(one of the fastest anyways).
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Old 18th March 2008, 10:55   #14
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I would mainly state the A.S.S by FIAT which was bad over 2/3 years back. I personally feel it was also the equal responsibility of the dealer who was managing FIAT on agreement those days which caused the sour taste about FIAT in India. And MSIL did pitch in big time and at the right time on the A.S.S side which is the strong root for them and this has overshadowed beyond certain limits on FIAT sales.

But i have seen a lot of improvement these days on the A.S.S of FIAT cars and i am getting good feedbacks from many FIAT customers. This is a sweet thing which i always wanted to hear and FIAT has already started making an impression to its customers about its seriousness of the Indian market. And i am waiting for the Grande Punto.

PS: On personal experience the same dealer is holding A.S.S centers of GM motors/Chevrolet in Chennai and have been causing the same trouble which they caused for FIAT.
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Old 18th March 2008, 11:01   #15
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Nice thread. Off the top of my head:

1. They were going pretty good until they stopped support for their only and able car Palio during the days of their fluidity resulting from financial instability of the Italian parent.

2. The above problem has been exacerbated by the fact that they continue to have only that one product currently which they'd let down earlier. People have already mentally divorced themselves from this one product due to the reasons mentioned above. Once they release other cars into their portfolio, and not repeat the same mistakes on those, we should see Fiat India gaining more acceptance

3. Above all else, during the course of all this instability, Fiat India's actions resulted in the gravest of all mistakes in a product environment - they let down the customer badly. People with Palios were left fuming and fretting over the lack of service/spares/even authorized service stations during the instability days.

4. All this resulted in the Palio having the lowest resale value and fastest depreciation amongst current-day cars. In fact, many banks do not give auto loans if Palio is the car mentioned - it was even mentioned by TOI as official fastest-depreciating car in India today. People would not accept that the Rs.4.5 lakh car they drove out of the showroom with their hard-earned money and loans, would fetch them less than half that value when the time came to sell - all this for no fault of theirs.

I feel particularly pained at all this since Fiat is a company with a rich heritage and some of the most exciting cars. I truly wish for Fiat India not to repeat their mistakes and to keep their ears to the ground in understanding customer requirements while striking it big in the future.

Last edited by theMAG : 18th March 2008 at 11:05.
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