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It's time for consolidation, says Fiat chief

Our Bureau

NEW DELHI, March 14

FIAT India's focus this year would be on consolidating its position in the domestic market. "We will concentrate on the Palio and Siena this year, and on building our service and dealer network," Mr Alberto Montanari, Chairman and Managing Director, Fiat India told Business Line on the sidelines of a press conference on Friday.

When asked whether Fiat is planning to introduce its Doblo and a small car in India this year as was the market speculation, Mr Montanari replied that any launches on new platforms were "unlikely" this year.

"We are presently studying the market to decide on which new platforms to foray into. The Indian market is very important for Fiat, and has been identified as one of the four strategic markets (along with Brazil, China and Turkey) for growth by the parent company," he said.

Fiat India is targeting a 33 per cent growth in turnover this year to Rs 1,600 crore. Fiat is also expecting the newly-launched the diesel version of the Palio and station wagon Adventure, to drive its sales, which has seen a decline lately.

"We are expecting sales to jump to 42,000 units this year," said Mr Ananda M. Gupta, Director - Commercial, Fiat India.

Meanwhile, Fiat is planning to come out with a range of marketing initiatives soon to promote both the cars, including a new advertising campaign. It has also tied up with various banks for providing finance for its cars (earlier it had a tie-up only with Sundaram Finance).

Fiat is targeting to increase its dealer network from 67 to 78 this year. The company claims that it has been able to reduce the prices of more than 4,000 spare parts, which should also help in boosting sales.

Meanwhile, when asked about the future of the Uno, Mr Gupta said that a revival plan is being worked upon for the model. The newly-launched diesel Palio would be available in three variants — EL, ELX and ELX SP — which have been priced between Rs 4,19,500 and Rs 4,75,000 (ex-showroom Delhi), while the Adventure Diesel has been priced at Rs 6,99,000.

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