Fiat India is gearing up to make a splash of its own in the country’s burgeoning small car market by launching an India-specific car in 2012. The company’s much-talked about new small car will not bear any resemblance to the company’s Uno model. The car will be launched in 2012 and will be an entry-level model, priced much below the company’s premium hatchback, Punto.
“It will be an all-new car, nothing to do with any of our other models and will be priced aggressively. It will compete with the Alto and will have a one-litre engine
,” Rajeev Kapoor, MD, Fiat India told ET. “The Uno brand has become rather generic in nature. We are still figuring out a new brand name for the car,” he added.
“The new car will be an India-specific one, made in India, made for India, keeping in mind the country’s unique terrain and temperatures. Our R&D team is working day in and day out to develop the car that meets consumers’ needs in the best manner,” he added.
With this car, Fiat hopes to get its product across to a much larger set of consumers and to effectively increase its market share from the current 1.5%. “The small car market in India is blazing and there is intense competition. The entry level car space excites us,” said Kapoor. The company, which currently has the Palio, targets to sell a total of 40,000 cars in India this year.
Market speculation was rife that Fiat would re-launch its Uno model sometime later this year. The Uno had a chequered innings in India with dwindling sales forcing Fiat to shelve the car’s production.
Fierce competition and surging demand for cars in India has led carmakers to Indianise their offerings, even introducing wholly Indian cars. Two years ago, Hyundai did it with the i10, and then Ford Motor Company followed by introducing its car for India -the Figo earlier this year and now Fiat will follow.
Auto industry experts reckon that while the launch would indeed help Fiat target more consumers, the company would have to work on spreading the network of their service outlets far and wide. Says Rahul Verma, director and head, quantitative research, Synovate India; “Fiat would have to ensure the widespread availability of cheap spares. Although the company has sorted out the distribution problem with the tie up with Tata Motors but will have to spread its authorized workshops to aid efficient after sales service, a critical aspect in India.”
Agrees Abdul Majid, PwC: “The Indian small car market demands companies to better their distribution and after sales service network. Also, the company will have to localize the product better than its competition. This aspect will be key.” Source