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Pros

  • Built quality
  • Design flair
  • Mature dynamics

Cons

  • Dealer network and response
  • After Sales & Service
  • Needs automatic cars

WrapUp

 

Ride, Handling and Built are amongst segment best, and designs are attention grabbing but they need to be backed by effective after sales service and few more gizmoz.

 

Fiat, it was a name once synonymous with cars in India, an era when only Premier Automobiles and Hindustan Motors existed. Premier Automobiles produced Fiat 1100 which then popularly became “Fiat”. Rugged construction and a nice rear seat of erstwhile Fiat means it was a formidable opponent of its only rival, HM’s Ambassador. Fast forward and Fiat wanted to launch Uno, which again gathered a lot of attention as an alternative to then best compact car, the Maruti Zen. There was an untapped excitement around Uno despite the insipid design which was rather practical. But due to unforeseen circumstances of Premier Automobiles also having an alliance with Peugeot, Uno could never reach the showroom floors in time. This was where Fiat lost a lot of credibility, specially when it came to returning booking amount of Uno bookings.Later on, Fiat again set foothold independently launching competitive cars like Fiat Sienna and Palio. Palio, in particular did manage to get waiting periods initially and had a fan following of its own. The first hot hatch crown also goes to Fiat Palio when it came with a 1.6 ltrs. Engine. But somehow, due to poor after sales and service, very limited, rather scarce availability of spares along with an impractically limited number of dealers resulted in decline of sales. At the same time, competitors like Maruti, Hyundai, even Tata for that matter were coming up with their own products which were better deals overall than Fiat. Fiat started losing steam and sheen in Indian operations.Even today, after almost 20 years since its independent inception in India, their annual sales are less than what Maruti’s smaller car models manage of their own. Fiat tried joining hands with Tata for sales and distribution, but not with much success and lost consumer confidence in the brand. However, existing product line up is competitive but not enough to keep its head high among new entrants. Fiat remains committed and even brought true hot hatch once again, the Punto Abart. Known for its solid build quality and exciting, entertaining dynamics for enthusiasts, Fiat has managed to carve out a small fan following for itself. Its efforts to build a better dealer and service network should bring in better results. Ageing products need replacement, but Fiat products are still a buy straight from heart.

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