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Fiat to drive 'value world car' into India to take on Alto

Fiat to drive 'value world car' into India to take on Alto

Italian car-maker Fiat is developing a 'value world car’ for India and other markets, and will target the segment currently dominated by Maruti Alto,  Mike Manley, chief operating officer for Asia at Fiat-Chrysler, told NDTV in an exclusive interview. However, he clarified that the value car will not be a rival to Nano, which is from the stable of Tata Motors, Fiat’s former partner.

In early May this year, Fiat and Tata Motors ended their distribution tie-up, and Fiat had then said it would take over control of its distribution network from its partner. Mr Manley said today that untangling Fiat’s service network from Tata Motors will take a while. The retail end of distribution has separated from the Indian peer, and the Italian car-maker hopes to have 50-60 independent dealers by March 2013 and 160 dealers by the end of the next year.

Mr Manley, who also heads Jeep worldwide, said the car-maker will bring in its Jeep brand to India in the second half of 2013 and plans to launch four Jeep brands over the next four years. Of the four models, the first two, Grand Cherokee and Wrangler, will be completely built units (CBUs), while the other two will be locally produced, he added.

Jeep vehicles will be distributed through the outlets created by exclusive Fiat dealers.

Fiat-Jeep will target a combined market share of 5 per cent by 2015 and it plans to launch nine new products for India over the next four years. Jeep will enter the compact SUV space with value-oriented products, Mr Manley said, adding that it wanted to emulate Hyundai’s success in exports.

“Our vision for India will revolve around a three-pronged strategy,” Mr Manley said. “First, the introduction of new vehicles that will soon include the legendary Jeep brand. Second, the expansion of our independent dealer network and, finally, strong marketing initiatives that will continue to improve our awareness and brand perception in the market.”

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