After Fiat India changed the signage of its press material from Fiat to Fiat-Chrysler, expectations of the Italian brand launching Chrysler’s range of luxury cars began to grow. Chrysler makes a high end luxury car in the form of the 300C, which competes with the likes of the Mercedes Benz C-Class and the BMW 3 Series pricewise. However, India will not see any high end Chrysler luxury car until 2016 at least. This announcement was made by Fiat-Chrysler’s COO for Asia, Mike Manley, in a conversation with NDTV Profit’s Siddharth Patankar.
Instead, Fiat-Chrysler will launch the Jeep brand in India and will focus on building the SUV brand in the country. After 2016 though, the high end luxury cars from Chrysler might be launched in India, one the Fiat-Chrysler group has an extensive dealer and after sales network. Fiat-Chrysler does not want its India strategy to feature too many cars and in the process, dilute the marketing spend and effort to sell these cars in the country. Instead, the Italian car maker will focus on firmly establishing the Jeep brand in the Indian car market.
Globally too, Chrysler has been consolidating its various brands and platforms, to a smaller, more manageable portfolio. Rather than straddling every segment of the car market through every brand in its portfolio, Fiat-Chrysler is using specific brands to address specific segments of the car market. Also, while Jeep and Fiat come with an extensive heritage and brand recall in the Indian car market, Chrysler is relatively unknown in India. To create a big brand out of Chrysler in India will be something that could entail significant resources.
This in an investment that Fiat-Chrysler does not want to make at this point in time as the real volumes in India come from smaller cars. With the Jeep brand, Fiat-Chrysler plans to take a top down approach, and will first ensure that the brand’s arrival into India is widely publicized through the flagship SUVs. Once the Jeep brand is well entrenched in India, the automaker will launch lower priced products to be aimed at the volumes market. All in all, Fiat-Chrysler is well and truly on the move in the Indian car market. The coming years will stand testimony to how the ideas are executed.