Later this week, the 6th of December to be precise, Fiat India will announce the arrival of the Chrysler brand into the country in the form of the Jeep SUV brand. Incidentally, Italian automaker Fiat is now the owner of the American automobile brand Chrysler. The announcement from Fiat is also expected to shed light on the products that the Jeep brand will feature for the Indian market. Now, Fiat bringing in the Jeep brand to India might just throw a spanner in the joint manufacturing alliance the Italian brand has been having with Indian car and utility vehicle major, Tata Motors.
2013 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon SUV used as an illustration
In fact, Fiat India’s manufacturing facility at Ranjangaon, off Pune, manufactures Tata cars like the Indica Vista hatchback and the Manza sedan. Fiat’s turbo diesel and petrol engine manufacturing facility also provides engines for these cars. All this could change with the advent of the Jeep brand in India as the Italian car maker could use its production facilities to assemble the Jeep range of SUVs rather than manufacturing Tata cars. This bit of information is courtesy a tweet from Overdrive’s editor, Mr Bertrand D’Souza. With this latest development, the Tata-Fiat alliance, it seems is on weak ground in India.
Fiat, earlier this year, quit the joint distribution alliance that it had with Tata Motors, on the back of falling car sales for the former. Under the joint distribution alliance, Tata car dealerships across the country used to sell and service Fiat’s two car range in India. Team ICB has repeatedly highlighted the step motherly treatment prospective Fiat car buyers faced in Tata showrooms, with the dealership’s sales personnel instead pitching for Tata’s own car range. Fiat finally woke up to smell the coffee and terminate the distribution alliance with Tata Motors, instead choosing to go it alone.
Ever since, Fiat is establishing an independent dealership network across India, which will sell and service its cars in the country. With the murmurs of Fiat also planning to terminate its manufacturing alliance with Tata Motors, it might just be a matter of time before the Italian car maker completely focuses its energies on improving its market share in the country. The arrival of the Jeep SUV brand into India might just be the harbinger of this change. We’ll bring you all the updates from the Fiat-Chrysler conference that will happen later this week. Watch this space.