In Conversation with Mr. Nagesh Basavanhalli on Fiat's Future Plans

Modified On Jul 25, 2014 11:35 AM By Rajpal

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Fiat is expanding its footprints in India and for this purpose they launched a unique initiative called ‘K2K Passion Tour’, which goes through various cities in India. Today, the tour reached Jaipur and Mr. Nagesh Basavanhalli, President and Managing Director, FIAT Chrysler Automobiles India inaugurated company’s 116th dealership in India.  On this occasion, we got an opportunity to interact with Mr. Nagesh, where we discussed Fiat’s future plans with him.

Mr. Nagesh Basavanhalli

Fiat is one of the oldest brands in India and has seen the market growing, despite this fact; it is not in a good shape in India. Fiat’s market share is less than 1 percent and products are not doing well on the sales charts. What will be your strategy to revive the brand in India?

Our brand strategy is quite clear; we will focus on the brand, dealership & service center network expansion and products. If you look at the last 18 months, we have worked so hard and established 116 exclusive Fiat outlets across the country that means now our customer will talk directly to us instead of a partner. The second biggest thing we have done is that we have invested a lot in infrastructure and today we have the biggest spare part warehouse in Chakan, Pune. Therefore, now the dealers are packed up with most of the spare parts at their exclusive Fiat service outlets. So, our focus is to provide best service to our customers and made them realize that Fiat can provide them the world class products and world class service. We have been putting a lot of effort to improve the service experience at Fiat dealerships and have launched unique initiatives like Express Service and AMICO to resolve customer problems at the earliest.

As you said, you are working to improve the service experience and availability of spare parts, what about the cost of maintenance and spare parts?

We recently organized a third party survey, which says that Fiat’s spare parts are the most affordable in their respective segment, thus the overall maintenance cost of a Fiat car is relatively lower than its competition.

Do you think that just because Fiat was not operating exclusively in India has affected your sales?

There were different reasons, but, yes by bringing in our own exclusive sales & service centers, our process, our training and technology, we can now bring in the change we wanted to. In the past we didn’t have much control, but now we can train our sales and service executives and enhance the feel of our dealerships. We will continue to invest in terms of infrastructure, training and methodology going forward, so, yes it will fix the most significant concerns for us.

Another big concern for Fiat is that despite having good products and superior technology, product are not selling well. What could be the reason behind it?

As we all know, Fiat is known for world class products and both Linea and Punto are very good products. The Linea got recently updated and it comes with world renowned engine technology, exclusive exteriors and interiors and it is a very safe car indeed, what we haven’t done with Linea is that we didn’t discount the brand - Linea. I can also sell my products by giving big discounts, but as we are a premium brand and we are quite clear that we don’t give discounts and put incentives on our product. We are here for long term, so we are taking actions and improving the products and sales experience, we will present customers with new products. So, we are quite hopeful that people will start buying Fiat cars again.  

What about the new products, right now there are only two products in your portfolio?

As announced during the 2014 Auto Expo, Fiat will launch 4 products in the year, we have already launched the new 2014 Fiat Linea and by the second week of the August, we will launch the new 2014 Fiat Punto EVO. Then, we are preparing for the global launch of our CUV (Contemporary Urban Vehicle) Avventura just before the festive season. So, we are quite excited about the upcoming festive season, as we will have three new cars in our exclusive dealerships. Then, by year end you will see Abarth 500 in India.

In long term, we are planning to launch 12 cars by 2018, which will include Fiat, Abarth and Jeep products. So, by 2018 we will have a good presence in India with 3 brands, 12 products and a strong dealership network across the country.

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