FCA India, the smallest car maker in the country, is planning electric vehicles and fully imported SUVs as part of its new model line-up, a top company official told Moneycontrol.
While there is no India dedicated work on EVs going on at present, the official said that FCA is working on battery powered vehicles at the international level and those products may be brought to India.
Partha Datta, President and Managing Director, FCA India, said, “FCA has electric at the global level. We are watching the Indian market. Today we are basically meeting consumer demand. When the consumer dictates that he wants us to bring them here then we have the technology. They are being developed as we speak. The current pipeline of products we have for India includes EVs.”
Fiat overhauled its India operations after decades of being in continued losses. The Italian car brand decided to stop production and sales of Fiat branded cars to focus solely on Chrysler-owned brand Jeep. The latter is one of world’s most popular sports utility vehicle (SUV) brands. Fiat changed the name of the company to FCA India.
After the exit of General Motors, and Ford ceding control of its operations in India, it believed that Fiat would soon follow suit. Fiat was one of the earliest to set foot in India and made multiple attempts through a variety of product launches to become a serious player.
Products like Uno, Palio, Punto, Linea and Avventura were introduced by the company in India, some of which were even sold in Tata Motors showrooms as part of a joint marketing and sales agreement. The two companies still produce cars from a common factory but no longer have the sales agreement in force. FCA India has 80 dealers present in 70 cities.
“Not even in one meeting was there a discussion of us quitting the Indian market. We have been absolutely committed to the market. I don’t even remember being part of a conversation where there was a hint of us being part of India was a question,” Datta added.
Fiat sells about five products (including derivatives) under the Jeep brand with the SUV Compass being the most popular as it is priced just under Rs 16 lakh. A diesel automatic version of the Compass was launched recently by the company. By March-end, FCA will launch the new variant of the Wrangler SUV called Rubicon.
“The product portfolio is always an evolving thing. The SUV segment is the most popular segment we have presently in India. We have the biggest SUV brand on the planet and we have leveraged that. We will continue to bring the right products. We are studying everything at the moment. Portfolio building takes time. We are looking at the CBU portfolio. They are aspirational products and we will build on that,” Datta added.