Even as the auto sector prepares to report its lowest numbers ever this year, Italian automobile maker Fiat is looking to boost its portfolio in India with nine launches, with view to increasing its 1 per cent market share. Nagesh Basavanahalli, president and managing director, Fiat Chrysler India Operations speaks to Sharan Poovanna about Fiat’s plans for India.
How is the auto sector looking for Fiat?
Currently India is a receding market due to prevailing macroeconomic conditions. We are at number seven in the country when it comes to sales. But we have a long-term vision for India and it continues to be a strategic market for us. It will soon be one of our Top 5 global markets.
How will you take your strategy forward?
We are looking at increasing distribution and brand building. After parting ways with Tata (on distribution), we have gone solo from April and are planning to get to 100 dealerships this fiscal. We have already reached 70 dealership points. We are continuously focusing on new technology innovations and bringing in new products in brand building. There is a good consumer sentiment towards Fiat as we share a good customer connect. We will be aggressive in how we take things forward.
How many launches are you planning?
We will have a nine- product launch strategy in the next three years where there will be new products as well as significantly changed versions of existing products. We will be playing in all important segments of the sector, with four cars from Chrysler, four from Fiat and one from Abarth.
When will Fiat bring in the Jeep?
We are still working through the details for Jeep. But this is a product that has been sold in over 120 countries and there is a good market survey for it. We will soon reveal the pricing and launch date for the product but we cannot share the exact details with you as of today. Initially, the Jeep will come to India through the CBU (completely built up units) route.
What is the current production capacity?
We have a plant in Pune, which is a 50:50 joint venture with Tata. We have a total capacity (Tata/Fiat) of 2 lakh cars and 3 lakh engines and transmission. We make cars on orders received from dealers. So far we have produced 2.5 lakh cars and 5 lakh engines. We have a total of 2,700 white and blue collar workers here. Fiat has 600 officers among this.
What is the import content of your cars?
Currently, over 85 per cent of our cars have localized components. The import element is mostly made up of high precision instruments. We are looking to increase local content in our vehicles.