Fiat gets cheaper by 7 - 7.3 per cent
The auto major has slashed price to boost sales
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), world’s seventh largest Italian automaker, has slashed prices of its cars between 7 per cent and 7.3 per cent to reduce its inventory level and boost sales in India.
The new prices will be applicable with immediate effect on the current model year of the Fiat Linea sedan and Fiat Punto Evo hatchback range. This move brings the Linea range of all three trims - Active, Dynamic and Emotion- under the Rs 10 lakh at showroom in New Delhi.
The reduction in prices makes the Fiat Linea range cheaper by Rs 29,570 to a maximum upto Rs 77,121 and Fiat Punto Evo in four versions between Rs 52,556 and Rs 64,609.
Linea’s base variant, the 1.4 Petrol Active is the most affordable in its segment at Rs 7.25 lakh, the Fiat Punto Evo 1.2 Dynamic is the most affordable premium petrol hatchback in its segment at Rs 5.45 lakh at New Delhi showroom.
Even though the Mumbai-based auto major said FCA India absorbs rising input costs and optimizes value proposition on Fiat cars, it is no secret that the FCA has been struggling to sell its existing model range of Abarth and Fiat brand in the fiercely competitive over 15 international and domestic car brands in Asia’s third biggest economy, dominated by Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai, Honda, Toyota, among others.
Significantly, while many carmakers in the country have raised prices of cars from a minimum of Rs 5,000 upward, depending on the model effective from the new year due to various macro-economic factors, including input costs, FCA is the only carmaker which has reduced the prices to woo buyers.
According to the apex trade body Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers or Siam sales at FCA India have remained below 500 units a month for more than a year.
Auto analysts say the company is desperate to push sales in a market where it is losing market share.
According to Siam, sales at FCA fell a whopping 22.67 per cent to 4,314 units during April-November 2016 period, down from 5,579 units it sold in the same period last year. Also, sales declined by 56.27 per cent to 265 units in November 2016, down from 606 units it sold in the same month in the previous year.
Model wise, Linea sold 716 units in during April-November 2016 period as against 1,020 units sold in the year-ago period while Punto sold 2,853 units.
“2017 is a significant year for FCA as we enter a new phase of growth with both our brands - Fiat and Jeep,” Kevin Flynn, president and managing director at FCA India, said in a statement.
“We want to make this the year of our transformation in our approach towards engaging with existing customers and winning new ones. This thought led us to start the new year by enhancing the value proposition on our feature-rich Linea and Punto Evo, as the first step. This year, we will move the needle on our sales and service network for which we have started implementing significant changes,” he said.
While FCA struggles to sell its Fiat brand, it is aggressively mapping the road to sell its world popular Jeep brand in the country.
FCA has spent $280 million at the Ranjangaon factory, near Pune, to prepare new assembly line to produce its premium Jeep sports utility vehicles locally and to make them accessible to the Fiat fans in the country.
The completely made-in-India Jeep Compass, with an expected price tag of about Rs 25 lakh, would be rolled out of the Ranjangaon factory before Diwali festival in mid-2017. It would be sold in the domestic market as well as for right hand drive global markets.
In India, it competes with popular Toyota Fortuner, Hyundai Tucson, Ford Endeavour, Honda CR-V, and Skoda Yeti which are in the price bracket of Rs 20-Rs 26 lakh.
Michael Gonsalves