Italian auto major Fiat has kicked off its new branding strategy in the Indian market with a complete overhaul of its media buying and creative accounts. Fiat’s media buying duties have been handed over to Group M agency Maxus, while its creative duties are now with Bates David Enterprise.
The media account, earlier with Starcom, is estimated to be in the region of Rs 50 crore. While the pitch for the media buying account involved Maxus, Lodestar and Starcom, FCB Ulka, Grey and incumbent Leo Burnett pitched for the creative account.
When contacted, Maxus MD Ajit Varghese said: “As the auto market is becoming increasingly competitive, we are happy that Fiat finds us best to partner them for a new beginning. This is a prestigious account for us.” Fiat will be the first auto account for Maxus, though another Group M agency, Mind-Share, handles the Ford account.
“Considering the new image of Fiat and the job ahead of establishing it as a powerful brand in the Indian four-wheeler market, we feel Maxus is the right media partner for Fiat in India,” Fiat CEO Rajeev Kapoor told ET.
The change in media buying and creative agencies is part of Fiat’s rebranding exercise. At the recentlyheld Auto Expo in Delhi, Fiat launched its new red rectangle logo that will grace all cars made in India.
The company has also lined up a host of new launches for this year across various segments. Around March, it plans to launch the Palio Stile with the 1.3-litre multijet diesel engine. Sources said it will be very competitively priced vis-a-vis the Swift diesel, the other hot hatch that also uses the same engine.
Fiat will launch two completely-imported, small but lifestyle cars — the Fiat 500 in the Rs 10-13 lakh range around May and the Bravo in the Rs 25-lakh range in June. September will see the launch of the Linea midsize sedan which too will be aggressively priced around Rs 7.5-9 lakh to take on the City, SX4 and others. Fiat plans to end the year with a flourish by launching the Grande Punto in November-December.
The Grande Punto will take on the Swift and be priced around Rs 6 lakh. The company has started working on marketing and promotional efforts and will increase its dealer footprint from 65 to near 100 by September.
Fiat has had a chequered past in India despite being present in the market since long. Sources said among its problems, Fiat has had to deal with quality issues, distribution and diffused positioning. But post its joint venture with the Tata group, Fiat India has drawn up a fresh blueprint to restructure its positioning and portfolio.
- The Economic Times