The ill-F(I)ATed Company

It hurts and quite badly too, when something that you have painstakingly developed and perfected over the years is not fetching you the desired benefits. It kills, when your followers are reaping the benefits for the same. Case in point being Fiat, the Italian automaker, whose streak of bad luck in India seems to be never-ending. How else on earth then, can a company, with two brilliant class-leading models in the form of Grande Punto and Linea and an engine which saved two other companies, post a decline in sales in a booming market?

Widely nicknamed as “India’s National Engine” by the auto enthusiasts, Fiat’s now-famous 1.3L Multi-Jet Diesel (MJD) was actually designed to power the above two cars, among other models in the international Fiat stable. While Tata, with it’s Indica Vista and Indigo Manza and Maruti-Suzuki, with it’s Swift, Dzire and Ritz are laughing all the way to the bank because of this very engine doing excellent duty under the hood of those vehicles, Fiat is just trundling along in India posting modest numbers. Having developed the engine, Fiat doesn’t deserve to fare so poorly in our country, given the fact that the 1.3L MJD engine has now attained a cult status. Worse even, sales are declining month-on-month even with newer variants like Punto 90HP and Linea T-Jet being added to the market.

If two brand-new models, a gem of a diesel engine and even partnership with Tata, who knows the hearts and minds of Indians, cannot do the trick for Fiat, I seriously doubt what else will. I am not even mentioning about the “Design” as both the Punto and the Linea are undoubtedly the best-looking cars in their respective segments and deserve to sell more just for their stunning looks. Though the interiors are not on par with the segment leaders and the service still sucks, even with Tata taking them into their fold, Fiat has still done enough to command more respect and sales.

But, the point is, is anyone even ready to listen to Fiat? I am afraid time is running out for Fiat in India and they don’t seem to have many tricks up their sleeve to bounce back. Even Fiat’s top honchos would now be scratching their heads as to what needs to be done to be back on track in India. Seriously, they can hardly afford to loose the already almost non-existent market share. On the contrary, it would be a sin for us Indians to loose a brilliant brand like 'Fiat' from the market either.

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