One of the oldest car manufacturers of the world, Fiat maybe living its final moments in India, for one more time. There were speculations, reports, and then other reports contradicting the reports. To add to the mix, a recent MoneyControl report has now brought to light that Fiat-Chrysler India manufactured just Jeep Compasses in the month of February and no other vehicle with the legendary Fiat moniker. This signals toward a significant move that the auto industry has been bracing for.
This is not a surprising move as the sales of Fiat cars was in a slump since a long time. The brand is also running major discounts on its different models in the market. The sales for the brand have witnessed a record 60% drop in sales so far this year. The sales are in such dire straits that some luxury brands are clocking almost double the sales of Fiat models.
SIAM data shows a significant gap between production and dispatches of Fiat cars as far as January and February are concerned. This could hint toward the fact that Fiat is gradually trying to clear inventory. Not just dispatch numbers but Fiat is also not upgrading its models to meet the upcoming safety norms that kick in from April 1, 2019. None of the Fiat cars currently follow the norms. Talking of regulations, there are reports that the Fiat 1.3 liter diesel engine too does not comply with the upcoming BS-VI norms, and Fiat is not taking any steps to upgrade the same. Combine all these facts and one cannot be blamed for reaching the conclusion that Fiat is planning a silent exit from India. Fiat still has around 80 dealerships all over India, keeping this in mind, the Italian brand wpuld like to avoid the legal battle that General Motors had to fight against their dealerships after their exit from India. Although the company still has to make any comment about its reported plans for exiting Indian market altogether.
Perhaps the saving grace for Fiat is that its dealerships can continue selling Jeep products from their premises. The Jeep division of FCA India will continue its operations in the country as Jeep products such as the Compass have been raking in good sales numbers. Jeep’s portfolio in India consists of Wrangler, Grand Cherokee, Grand Cherokee SRT and the top-selling Compass.
Taking a look at the products Fiat offers in India, the brand sells Punto Evo, Abarth Punto, Urban Cross, Avventura and Linea. It has been a long-long time since Fiat launched a new product or updated any of the existing ones. Whether Fiat exits India or not, only time will tell. Meanwhile, Jeep plans to launch new products in India and has long-term plans as far as products and staying in the country are concerned.