Fiat takes another aim to revive its India business2 min read . Updated: 06 Jan 2017, 09:34 AM IST
Fiat Chrysler Automobile India cuts prices of its Linea sedan and Punto hatchback by 7.3% and 7%, respectively, in a bid to boost sales volumes
Mumbai: Fiat S.p.A., the Italian automaker, is taking another shot at getting its India business right. This time around, it’s counting on a price cut on existing Fiat-badged models and introduction of premium models from sibling brand Chrysler.
Fiat Chrysler Automobile (FCA) India Pvt. Ltd on Thursday said it had cut prices of its Linea sedan and Punto hatchback by 7.3% and 7%, respectively, in a bid to boost sales volumes. The price cut makes Linea’s base variant one of the cheapest models in its segment.
The company is also sprucing up dealerships and gearing up the factory near Pune for the Jeep Compass—a premium sports utility vehicle which will go on sale in the second half of the current calendar year. FCA plans to make the Compass locally, said Kevin Flynn, managing director and president, FCA India, in a phone interview on Thursday.
After the price reduction, Linea’s base variant, 1.4 Petrol Active is available at Rs7.25 lakh (ex-showroom, New Delhi) The Fiat Punto EVO, a premium petrol hatchback, has been priced at Rs5.45 lakh (ex-showroom, New Delhi). “We are re-aligning the Linea and Punto EVO range. It’s a very positive move for us and makes the cars one of the most competitively priced one in their respective segments," he said.
Fiat-badged cars have been struggling to find traction in India for many years and the company has rejigged its Indian operations several times. In the first eight months of the current year, the company sold 4,449 units against 5,698 units in the year-ago period, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam).
The local arm of the Italian carmaker is counting on Chrysler to gain traction. Flynn said that in the run-up to the Compass launch, the company plans to convert the 55 Fiat dealers into FCA dealerships. These will sell both the Fiat range and the Chrysler models, said Flynn, adding that it’s also working on building after-sales and service capabilities for the upcoming models starting with the Compass. It’s also setting exclusive flagships stores in all the key metros for Jeep models.
“The Jeep brand, which enjoys a very high recall in India, is an opportunity for Fiat to get its act right for one last time," said Puneet Gupta, associate director at I.H.S Markit. “With the high level of localisation (close to 60%-70% in the Compass) they will be able to price the model competitively."
A person aware of company’s plans said that in the first year of its launch, FCA plans to sell 10,000 units each in domestic and export markets; it is expected to be priced around Rs20 lakh.
Flynn declined to comment on sales volumes, saying that Compass will be exported to several right-hand-drive markets.