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.