Tata Motors on Tuesday said it is redrawing distribution plans of its joint venture with Fiat as sales number of the Italian carmaker has not been up to expectations. As part of the plan, Fiat will now have its own independent brand showroom to showcase its products, although it will continue to sell cars through Tata Motors showroom.
“We are looking at ways to improve the sales numbers. We are not where we want to be (of Fiat branded cars). We are redrawing the plans to boost the sales,” Tata Motors Vice President (Commercial-Passenger Car Business Unit) R Ramakrishnan told reporters.
As part of a 50:50 joint venture agreement signed in 2007, the two companies had agreed to a joint distribution network and back-end support besides co-manufacturing of products at the Ranjangaon facility near Pune. Subsequently, Fiat cars are being sold at Tata Fiat branded showrooms but it has not been able to shore up volumes.
For this fiscal, in the April-January period, Fiat India clocked 17,840 units as against 20,280 units in the same period last fiscal, down 12.03 per cent. In January this year, Fiat sold 2,174 units, as against 2,215 units in the same month last year.
“To improve the image, we plan to open image brand centres (for Fiat). To begin with, two centres will be opened in Delhi and Pune,” he said. Ramakrishnan said the Fiat cars would continue to be sold at the existing Tata-Fiat showrooms. He said there were issues with Fiat cars relating to ground clearance, air-conditioning and power.
“Now these have been sorted out,” he said. Commenting on Tata Motors’ poor sales of Indica, Ramakrishnan said, it has been due to BS IV compliance issues. “We will be introducing a Tata Indica BS IV variant (diesel) with CRDI (Common Rail Direct Injection) next month.”