Tata, Fiat joint venture in full swing | autos | Hindustan Times
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Tata, Fiat joint venture in full swing

Fiat shifts its old assembly line from Kurla and Tata workers are manning it at present, reports Suprotip Ghosh.

autos Updated: Apr 02, 2007 22:22 IST

Twenty supervisors from Fiat's Kurla plant and around hundred and forty workers from the Tata Motors plants from Pimpri and Bhosari - this is the scene at the joint-venture plant that was inaugurated on Monday at Ranjangaon by Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.

Fiat has shifted its old assembly line from Kurla and Tata workers are manning it at the moment, trained by Fiat overseers. The unofficial blueprint of the joint venture, where both Tata and Fiat would invest Rs2000-odd crore, is slowly clearing up.

According to sources in the executive recruitment industry, 12 top level executives and 24 marketing and branding managers would be working on building the brand for the coming two years, as Fiat increases its outlets across the country.

“We are planning to increase the number of outlets from 28 to above 63,” said Giovanni de Fillipis, MD, Fiat India Ltd. However, in about three to four years, these people would slowly bring in co-branded Tata-Fiat cars, on the lines of the Mahindra Reanult joint venture, sources said.

There is more to the synergy story. In the last few months, three famous Italian automobile designers visited India, including Giorgietto Giugiaro — the man behind many a best-selling Italian car design. All of them had lent their magic to Fiat cars in the past.

For now, the Ranjangaon plant would manufacture the new Palio Stile. With a slightly upgraded body and a vastly downgraded engine, the new car would have three variants of a 1.1 litre engine. The Palio 1.9 would be phased out. The assembly, which is presently working a single shift, is expected to roll out both Grande Punto and Linea, two Fiat cars that Filipis said would be ushered in by mid-2008.

“The plant would produce a part of Tata's next generation of cars,” said Rajiv Dubey, President, Passenger Cars, Tata Motors. Fiat would do some basic work for Tata cars, said sources close to the development. This could mean that the later designs of Tata cars would be by Fiat. It is already making diesel engines and transmission systems for Tata cars, scheduled to roll out in near future. The future Tata car could be indistinguishable from Fiat.