‘In 2015, we will look to localise the Abarth 500.’

Nagesh Basavanhalli, president & MD, Fiat Chrysler India Operations, speaks to Shobha Mathur on exploring the AMT option, local assembly of the Abarth 500 and the India market.

By Shobha Mathur calendar 05 Aug 2014 Views icon2664 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
‘In 2015, we will look to localise the Abarth 500.’

Nagesh Basavanhalli, president & MD, Fiat Chrysler India Operations, speaks to Shobha Mathur on exploring the AMT option, local assembly of the Abarth 500 and the India market.

As regards Fiat’s plans for a new powertrain, would you look at an automatic transmission or an AMT version similar to the Maruti Celerio’s?
Based on market conditions, we are looking at all emerging technologies. Right now, it is not in the plan but we are still looking at it because we have not finalised plans right now.

You said the Fiat Abarth 500 will be coming to India as a CBU before the year-end. Can you elaborate on plans for its localisation?
The Abarth 500 that will come this year will be a CBU but in 2015 we will look at a localisation plan. We are looking at it from a planning standpoint but we have not finalised yet the targeted localisation content.

Has the launch of the Jeep project in India been delayed?
We have deferred it. Jeep won’t come in 2014 because we want to make sure that we bring it under the right market conditions. We will bring it but not in CY 2014.

How is the new Fiat Linea faring on the sales front?
The Linea has been well received and we have deliberately not discounted the product. The initial response on the T-Jet and the diesel variants has been positive and we hope that with the Punto Evo and the Avventura coming and the festival season, there will be more traffic in the showrooms.

How is Fiat India’s sales split in terms of petrol and diesel models?
We are seeing more on the diesel side but clearly the T-Jet also has its attraction.

With diesel prices on the rise, do you think the petrol-diesel equation is going to change for Fiat and the gap will narrow down?
I think in the long-term it will narrow. We are seeing the gap that you talked about but clearly we believe right now there is room for both. We are more significantly biased towards diesel right now.

What are your plans to expand the dealer network, going forward?
At present, we have 116 dealerships across about 95 cities in India and we want to get up to 150 dealer showrooms by the end of this fiscal year.

How much of a spurt in sales do you expect during the upcoming festive season?
Like everybody, we expect the second half of the year and the festive season to bring in better car sales numbers so we are bullish about sentiments getting better. And, of course, what we have with us are new models like the Punto Evo and the Avventura SUV which will help drive more traction in dealerships. We are expecting good sales.

Also read : Fiat launches Punto Evo in India, plans local assembly of Abarth 500 next year http://bit.ly/1oxmIMX

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