Fiat, Chrysler India businesses to be led by Nagesh Basavanhalli

Fiat, Chrysler India businesses to be led by Nagesh Basavanhalli

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 03 Apr 2013 Views icon5824 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Mumbai, April 3, 2013: Fiat Group Automobiles India Pvt Ltd (FGAIPL) and Chrysler India Automotive Pvt Ltd have announced the appointment of Nagesh A Basavanhalli as president and MD for Fiat and Chrysler India operations as part of ongoing efforts to strengthen their business position in India. The appointment is effective immediately.

Previously, as head of CIAPL, Basavanhalli was responsible for Fiat and Chrysler’s APAC (Asia Pacific) Technical Center located in Chennai, the Fiat Group’s third largest after Detroit and Turin. Basavanhalli will now report to Mike Manley, chief operating officer for the APAC region, Fiat SpA.

Enrico Atanasio, previously FGAIPL’s managing director, is to take on new responsibilities with the APAC region to be announced at a later date. “In the short term, Enrico will work closely with Nagesh on a smooth transition of responsibilities and integration of the new structure to support the continued development of our business in India,” said Manley.

Basavanhalli joined Chrysler in 1994 and since has held numerous positions of increasing responsibility in engineering and product planning. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Bangalore University; a Master of Science from the University of Texas; and, an MBA from the University of Chicago Business School.

India business plan

After the break-up of its marketing tie-up with Tata Motors last year, FGAIPL is going about setting up its own dealer network. The company, which currently sells only the Punto hatchback and the Linea saloon, aims to set up 110 dealerships in 67 cities across India, by end-2013 and around 150-170 dealerships in the next three years.

From the Chrysler stable, the Jeep brand is to officially enter India this year. The first product will be the Wrangler SUV, expected to be powered by a 197bhp 2.8-litre common-rail diesel engine.

Jeep will also launch the fourth-generation Grand Cherokee, powered by a 237bhp 3.0-litre common-rail diesel. Working in sync with the China tech unit, the Chennai Centre has been a key contributor to the Grand Cherokee, which was one of the first Fiat-Chrysler products launched in North America. Initially, both the Wrangler and the Grand Cherokee will be offered as CBUs. There are two more models in the pipeline for Jeep in India. The first of these is a B-segment SUV that could share underpinnings with the upcoming Fiat SUV and a second SUV that might be based on the Jeep Compass – currently the smallest model in the Jeep global line-up.

The Chennai Tech Centre will play a key role in both Fiat’s and Chrysler’s growth plan in India. Nagesh Basavanhalli headed the team of over 1,000 engineers at the Chennai Tech Centre. He was given the task of establishing three regional technical centres in the emerging markets of China, India and East Europe.

With 18 years of automotive experience, Basavanhalli leveraged his expertise and network roping in talent from the US auto industry and from its supplier base to build the Chennai tech centre, starting off initially with just 10-15 people.

In an interview to Autocar Professional in August last year, Basavanhalli had said: “Our work is focused on global (and regional) automotive product development and virtual validation — body, interior, chassis, electrical, engine systems, powertrain, and CAE (simulation) based upon a project approach from all regions of the Group. This centre supports APAC (China and India) product development. This will involve localisation of global platforms and components for regional markets or working on ‘innovation’ projects from India to the rest of the world.”
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