The Fiat Group will try anew to penetrate the vehicle market in India by opening a new, wholly owned 57-dealer network on April 1, 2013. The Italian carmaker hopes to cut its woeful sales performance in India with the network, expecting to entice more customers in the country to avail of its product.
Fiat is planning to penetrate the Indian vehicle market with its sports utility vehicles and sporty cars, rather than bring in a cheap small car that is popular in the country but is in a market dominated by vehicles from Hyundai and Maruti Suzuki.
Fiat is planning to introduce its Chrysler Jeep SUV brand to India this year and produce a smaller version in the country by 2015. Fiat is also planning to bring its higher end models like the Abarth, the sports variant of its 500 and Punto models.
Deepesh Rathore, Managing Director of IHS Automotive India, remarked that Fiat's focus is on launching some niche products and rebuilding the customer experience. He added that although the move is painful, it is time to tell customers that Fiat is different from the image they have had in mid. Fiat inked a distribution agreement in 2007 to produce and sell cars with India's Tata Motors as foreign carmakers start venturing in the country.
After three years of declining sales at dealers that display Fiat models along with lower-priced Tata rivals, the Italian carmaker decided in May 2012 to terminate the agreement. The carmaker just sold Fiat-branded vehicles in February 2013, the worst performance for any major brand. Fiat also saw its market share shrink to 0.3 percent this fiscal year.