Pointers from the Fiat Caffe technology meet
Yesterday evening, Fiat India conducted a unique initiative of sorts, in the form of the Fiat Caffe technology meet at Pune, to discuss a range of aspects about Fiat cars and the car maker’s future plans for the Indian car market. Fiat India biggies comprising of Mr. Enrico Atanasio, Head- Commercial, Fiat India, Mr. Gurpratap Boparai, Head, Fiat Powertrains, Fiat India and Mr. Jayant Deb. Head- Engineering & Design, Fiat India, were at hand to discuss the various nitty gritties surrounding Fiat India’s car operations.
Team ICB’s special correspondent was present at the event and during the course of interaction with senior Fiat officials present at the event, posed a number of questions. Here’s what transpired.
* Fiat has its own standalone dealership in India at Hyderabad. By 2012 December, Fiat plans to open 80 dealerships across India.* Fiat will continue its partnership with Tata Motors on the joint Tata-Fiat dealership front till they setup the complete standalone dealership network in the country. Until then, service and spares will be available through Tata-Fiat dealerships as has been the case currently.* There is no plan to bring new vehicles until December 2012, which is incidentally when Fiat plans to establish a comprehensive standalone dealership network across India.* The Linea sedan will not get a facelift until December 2012.* Currently Fiat India is doing good business on the diesel engine supply front with the Multijet turbo diesel engine being a hot favorite amongst various car makers in India. . In fact, one third of the diesel cars on Indian roads feature the 1.3 Liter Fiat Multijet engine.* Fiat will continue to expand this end of its business and currently the Multijet engine manufactured in India features a localization level of 85%.* New technologies like MultiAir engine, 800cc TwinAir and even T-Jet engines in a higher state of tune are not planned for the Indian marke until December 2012. After this though, these technologies might be launched in future Fiat cars bound to India.* Powertrain head Mr. Boparai emphasized that diesel engines made by Fiat are more eco-friendly compared to other diesel engines.* Considering MPV need of India and the fast growing Compact SUV market, Fiat India does have plans in future.* As of now, Fiat does not have any plans of launching the Viaggio D-segment sedan in India.* When queried whether Fiat plans to launch a small car to sit below the Punto, Mr Atanasio reiterated that the plan currently is to focus on expanding standalone dealerships. So, the absence of an outright denial does seems to hint that Fiat might indeed have plans for a smaller car to be positioned beneath the Punto.* All new products from Fiat will be launched only in 2013 and beyond. So, that sums up Fiat’s assertion of not launching any new products in 2012. Also, these products are set to bring Fiat’s latest technologies to the Indian market.* The event ended with Fiat’s top management stating that more such events to detail Fiat’s strategy will be held in the coming months.