Making a fresh beginning and coinciding with the visit of the Fiat Group Chairman, a Fiat Palio, the first car produced by the Fiat-Tata Motors joint venture, was on Tuesday morning rolled out from the Ranjangaon facility near Pune. In 2008, Fiat will introduce its latest model Fiat Grande Punto and the yet to be introduced Fiat Linea in the three box sedan segment in the Indian market.
Fiat Auto and Tata Motors will sign a collaborative agreement on Wednesday to give a concrete shape to their 50:50 joint venture that was announced in December 2006.
Fiat Group Chairman Luca Cordero Di Montezemolo who arrived in Mumbai as the head of a 450-member Italian business delegation to India in an interview with HT said, “We are looking at different possibilities as we are committed to the Indian market. We found Tata as a perfect partner to grow our business here. In three years, Fiat will emerge as a strong player in India.”
He said that the agreement will be signed between him and Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata in the presence of Indian Commerce minister Kamal Nath and Prime Minister of Italy Romano Prodi. “I met him this morning for long hours and we are good friends. Tatas are our good business partners and since we will complement each other, the Fiat brand is bound to grow here,” he said adding, “I don’t want to comment on what went wrong in India in the past but now with this extremely important partnership with Tatas we are in safe hands.”
Once the two new cars are introduced, the existing Fiat models will be gradually phased out. Ranjangaon due its close proximity to Tata’s Pune plants will be the only facility from where Fiat cars will be produced in addition to one more new car to be jointly developed for Tata Motors.
Fiat’s Kurla facility from where production was stopped three months ago has been closed down. All key machineries have been shifted to the Ranjangaon facility, which was lying defunct till six months ago. Upon completion of a Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) at the Kurla unit, Fiat will soon be selling this prime land.