Notwithstanding the launches of Fiat Punto Evo (comprehensive facelift of Punto), Avventura, refreshed Linea, and an aggressive expansion of its own showroom network, Fiat India’s sales have been lackluster.
This September, the Italian automaker’s ailing Indian subsidiary has registered its lowest monthly sales volume in over two years (29 months) at a mere 539 units.
The last time Fiat posted sales below 539 units was in April 2013. During these 29 months, Fiat India sales have averaged a little below 1,000 units a month, with the company failing to post sales in four digits since October 2014.
The bottom line doesn’t appear to be in for a noteworthy boost in the near future as the product pipeline only has niche performance oriented Abarth models (Punto and Avventura) as of now. Lack of a wide product portfolio could be cited as one of the primary factors for Fiat India’s poor show. Currently it has only three mass market products – Punto, Avventura and Linea.
Considering that the SUV-frenzy has taken over pretty much every price segment this side of INR 20 lakhs, Fiat could do with more than just a hatchback with rough road package. The huge delay in bringing the Jeep brand to India isn’t helping them either.
So what lies ahead for Fiat in India? The company is reportedly contemplating a replacement for the Linea and the modern Egea (Tipo in Europe) sedan looks suitable for the Indian market, as a Honda City rival. The Fiat 500X compact crossover looks to have the potential to make an impact but it doesn’t appear to be on the priority list. The potential bright spot is the Jeep C-SUV which will be manufactured in India but it won’t be here before 2017.
Fiat India is also currently working on improving its brand perception with a new campaign and the company is hoping that this would eradicate general myths and misconceptions about the brand among prospective customers.
In a nut shell, it’s high time for the automaker to ramp up its product portfolio in India significantly. After all India is projected to be the third largest auto market in the world by 2020 and Fiat wouldn’t want to miss out on the surge.