Fiat India which has split from the joint sales operations with Tata Motors is in the process of eliminating several Tata dealers who were selling its cars from its list of dealers. Fiat has already started setting up independent dealers of its own, the first one being the one in Hyderabad.
Recent reports indicate several Tata dealers will no longer be able to sell Fiat cars. Fiat India is said to have set up a qualifying process that new and existing dealers have to comply. Many Tata dealers who are selling Fiat cars now have not qualified and might lose their contract with Fiat soon.
Fiat India has only stated that it was formulating the criteria for Fiat dealers in India. However a senior company official has stated that Fiat India had no obligation to continue with its existing Tata dealers if they do not meet its standards. He added that Fiat would not hesitate to change dealers.
Fiat India will be assessing dealerships on the basis of their location, service, customer orientation, financial strength as well as overall automobile experience. It has set up a committee that will have a look at all existing showrooms as well as new upcoming showrooms.
Fiat India has 174 Tata branded showrooms in the country. It is now looking to establish independent showrooms in at least 67 cities within March next year. It will also be hiring new personnel to man its showrooms.
Fiat India has been struggling with its sales in the past few months. Sales of its Punto and Linea have been sliding to greater depths despite Fiat's best efforts to market them. The fact that both the car's are powered by India's best selling diesel engine and the engine being a product of Fiat has surprisingly not helped them.
Fiat India's sales in the fist five months of this fiscal year has slipped by a staggering 48% to just 4,061 units. This figure is equivalent to a fraction of the monthly sales of a car say the Maruti Suzuki Swift.