Is Fiat planning to resurrect the Innocenti brand to take on Nissan’s Datsun and Volkswagen’s Tantus low cost car brands?
Italian car maker Fiat could have plans afoot of having its own low cost car brand for emerging car markets like India, Brazil and Russia. The folks at an AutoEdizione are basing this story on a comment made by Fiat-Chrysler chief Sergio Marchionne, hinting at Detroit 2013, about the Italian car maker resurrecting a low cost car brand. Innocenti could be the brand under which Fiat kickstarts its low cost operation. Apart from this hint, nothing remains known about the possible low cost brand to emerge from Turin. That said, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Fiat coming up with a low cost car brand in the coming years given the growing clamour for such brands across the globe.
Given that car makers across the world are locked in battle to develop new products to take advantage of the growing buying power of people across countries like India, Brazil, Indonesia, Russia and South Africa, having specific brands to cater to these buyers will allow car brands to maintain their traditional attributes, allowing low cost car brands to go lower down the value chain. Franco-Japanese car making alliance Renault-Nissan was the first to jump onto the low cost car brand brigade. In fact, Renaults’s acquisition of the Romanian Dacia badge a few years opened the floodgates for other brands to follow suit.
We now have Nissan readying up the Datsun brand to service emerging car markets across the globe. The first of the Datsun low cost cars will be unveiled in India, later this year. Just weeks ago, German car makin behemoth, Volkswagen announced its intentions of building a wide range of low cost cars, with the Tantus brand possibly being used as a front. Both Datsun as well as Volkswagen plan to use older car platforms for their low cost car range, in order to keep development costs to the bare minimum.
The older Micra platform is expected to underpin a couple of entry level Datsun hatchbacks while Volkswagen has hinted that it plans to use the previous generation Polo’s PQ platform for its own low cost foray. So, if Fiat does go ahead and enter the low cost car brand space, expect older car platforms and production lines to be jump started to result in a slew of cost effective yet tried and tested car models to service the growing demand for entry level cars in most parts of the developing world. India, with the massive purchasing power of her ever growing middle is expected to be the epicentre of most low cost car brands.