Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Fiat Linea- admiration guaranteed!!!

It is a case of love at first sight… this new ad….. which begins with a father and son walking on street with luxury stores ( for a change it is not the same old couple-married or otherwise). The son is attracted by the shop windows with toys and stops by, looking into the stores again and again and the dad pulls him away again and again as if he is in a rush.

Now in the next window it is the dad who gets stuck, awestruck at the beauty of the new fiat Linea and then comes the tag line "Admiration Guaranteed," where the core idea is to showcase the good looks and styling of the new model and it should be said without doubt that the ad does its job… it is simple and yet striking… not anything exceptionally brilliant, neither of the metal type which will walk to glory at Cannes or Abby’s but that wasn’t what ads were conceived as a marketing tool in the first place…..

The mid-sized segment in India (Price ranges between Rs. 3-8 lakh) is heavily fought out by the likes of Ford Fiesta, Honda City, Mahindra – Renault Logan, Hyundai Verna and Maruti SX4 in its category. Heavy competition driven from abnormal growth (automobile market here is growing at 7% per year, but the mid-size car market is growing at the rate of around 20% per year) .The total size of the market is indeed arguable but what is worrisome at this point in time for Fiat, is that after all the brouhaha of its coming for the last two years, especially ever since last year with the Fiat –Tata alliance which came into being, and after letting anticipation run high, with blogs and forums raving on the imminent launch, last month with another C-segment sedan -the new Honda City being launched and which instantly captured the attention of everyone . Now that was hard for fiat… it was like the bridesmaid steeling the groom and yet the bride is late….Worse ,Fiat Linea has kept its lowest price at 8.15 lakhs to the dismay of the ones who waited....

A small family car released in 2007 by the Italian automaker as a world car in Eastern Europe, Latin America and Middle East , the Fiat Linea is now launched in India in several variants, and petrol and diesel options. The petrol version would have a 1.4-litre petrol engine, and the diesel version would have a 1.3 diesel VGT, combined with five-speed transmissions. It will also come in a variant with a 120 bhp 1.4 16v turbo options. Diesel in India for known reasons sells bigger than petrol.

Fiat’s positioning Linea against Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Skoda Octavia should be a treat to watch.....Can Linea be easily be positioned between the upper C-segment and the entry D-segment sedans? With Linea’s design cues heavily derived from Audi, it has the potential to match them but the price is a bit difficult to comprehend (9.57 lakhs for high end and 8.15 on road for the lower end!!!) keeping in mind that its 1248 cc engine is the same one that is in the fiat palio multijet . Why would people go for a Linea when we got Skoda on the road with 1.9 TDI engine is a question being asked by reviewers ....Mid segment or upper C or entry D…? let the Indian consumer decide….

Ooof..... that was typically atypical of Adformula….. now getting back to the advertising part… the marketing ,product and positioning issues apart… the first impression is cool… and my kudos goes to the creative team which includes Sonal Dabral, Sanjay Sipahimalani, Kaushik Mitra and Joseph Desouza from Bates in India and the production house - Corcoise Films and its director- Prasoon Panday. Now let us hope that the product will live up to the expectation that its communication has generated.

Tail piece:- "Admiration is a very short-lived passion that immediately decays upon growing familiar with its object, unless it be still fed with fresh discoveries, and kept alive by a perpetual succession of miracles rising into view.”

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