India, the next step for Fiat Panda

Although there is no confirmation from the brand, FGW had access to some information regarding the fact that current Fiat Panda will arrive soon in India. It is actually a possibility known from before but that is getting more solid as other car info sources begin to talk about. According to it, the small car may be available in India’s dealerships in 2013 but it might have another name (maybe Uno?) and Fiat thinks to sell around 24.000 units in the first year. The product must  allow Fiat to reach its target sales of 130.000 units sold by the year 2014. It is without any doubt a very optimistic number as Fiat figures in India have dropped considerably during the last months (in the first 5 months of this year, sales have fallen 28% in a whole market that grows 12%). Anyway the Panda would the right product for that. Actually its second largest market could become India, as its characteristics fit very well into Indians needs and desires when buying a car.

India is by far the largest market for small cars. 41% of total car sales during 2011 corresponded to A-Segment cars, which is more or less 1 million vehicles. They just love small, cheap and practical cars, because most of them are shifting from a motorcycle to their first car. And from A-Segment cars they prefer 5 door tall body type with small but efficient engines. Suzuki is the leader of the market and the segment with its popular Alto, A-Star (aka Alto), Wagon R, Ritz (aka Splash), Estilo and 800. 6 options just for one segment, and most of them 5 door tall compact cars. The same what Panda offers: a small and tall A-segment car with big interior space and efficient engines. But why has not Fiat thought about selling it before? Indian sources says that it is because of the agreement signed by Fiat and Tata, in which Tata asked Fiat not to produce the Panda in India as it could become a real threat to Tata Nano. But those are just speculations. However, now that Fiat is on its way to sell its cars directly, the Panda could arrive soon and maybe hit the market with its great body shape, awesome interior and terrific MultiAir engines. This scenario could be only possible if Fiat decides to produce it locally as imported cars are highly charged with taxes.

The Panda, which continues to lead A-segment sales in Europe and became Italy’s best selling car, could reach interesting sales figures taking into account the results of its main competitors. The Maruti Alto sold more than 310.000 units, followed by Wagon R with 147.000, and Hyundai i10 with more than 138.000. In other words, India could work as USA works for Fiat 500, which has become its second largest market after Italy. If Fiat wants to become an important player in Indian market must consider a specific product for it. The good thing is that the same product they successfully sell in Europe could fit perfectly Indians desires.

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9 responses to “India, the next step for Fiat Panda

  1. i hope it will be successful..
    but i have a question about european pandas..
    i remember i read, when they were starting to produce in pomigliano, that the factory could produce up to 30.000 pandas a month. now, in may, 17.000 pandas were sold in the whole europe. also admitting they all were new pandas (not the old ones built in poland), there are two possibilities: the factory works half its possibilities, 13.000 pandas a month are unsold.
    this isn’t very good is it?

    • Not at all Dario. And that is the problem Marchionne mentions everytime: overproduction problems. They have more production capacity than demand, and though the new Panda is still very popular, the total sales don’t equal the factory capacity.

  2. @ Dario, of course a utilisation degree of about 57% is not at all sufficient, but consider that there is a huge overcapacity in Europe as a whole, roughly one third of the total is currently unused. But when taking into account that Fiat is one of the players that suffer most from the crisis on the old continent, 60% suddenly is not so dramatic anymore… Especially if this probably makes it the second-best Fiat Group Automobiles assembly plant in Europe. Just compare to the current figures for Mirafiori, for example.
    On the other hand you are completely right. The sales figures of the new Panda are not as impressive as one would have expected, not at all as good as the ones from its predecessor were right after its launch… One might say it’s the business risk, but “very disappointing Fiat!” might be more appropriate 🙂

    • I would not say that. The Panda is doing very good in Europe. The thing is that you are comparing second generation sales figures with this one and is not correct because there were available in 2 different moments. The second generation enjoyed very good years of European market, while the third generation arrives just when the crisis is in its worst moment. That’s why Marchionne says Fiat should wait for new models to arrive

      • True, times are different but remember that at the moment Fiat sells two generations of Panda, in two different price ranges. Sales numbers get counted all together though. Furthermore, the previous, 2nd generation Panda had to start from scratch building up a model-specific customer base; both the old Panda and the Cinque/Seicento were conceptually completely different, and more important, cheaper. The new Panda has got an enormous base of generally satisfied customers coming from the second generation model. To top it off I would like to mention the fact that Fiat sells the new Panda in its first year already with huge discounts, seeing its profit margin evaporate completely. Sure, selling cars “sottocosto” is good for your market share, but is this the way I want to build cars?

  3. I agree with you Felipe, in such a difficult time is unfair to compare the new with the previous Panda. However I hope Marchionne will find a way to make money AND keep (or better, increase) selling cars in europe.
    BTW I see an amazing number of new Ypsilons in the streets! Many many more than new Pandas! It seems that all the Ypsilons sold in Italy go to Turin!

  4. The new panda interiors are so quirky. Not as elegant as the new Punto. FIAT desperately needs a car below Punto. A practical family car..

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