In the past six months, the Fiat Linea has sold a little over 4,400 cars. In the same period, Maruti Suzuki sold more than 14,800 units of the SX4 and Volkswagen sold more than 17,500 units of the Vento.

It seems that the Linea is set to join the ranks of the company’s other models—such as Palio—that faded away after a strong start.

The downtrend has become more extreme in the recent months. In June 2011, Fiat sold 350 units of Linea, less than half of what the company sold in May 2011 (845 units).

Even in the months prior to May, the Linea’s sales were around 800 units only, while its rivals such as the Vento and SX4 managed to clock 2,500 units on an average.

Photo: Like Palio, Linea seems to be fading after a strong start

Honda City, too is back in the hunt post it’s price cut and has sold over 2,500 cars in June, 2011. With the excitement around the new Fluidic Verna and Ford Fiesta, things could get tougher for the beleaguered Fiat Linea.

But why should that be the case?

Linea had a lot going for it, it is great looker. Two, it has an excellent ride. Three it is a ‘BIG’ car in fact it is as big as the Toyota Corolla Altis and the Honda Civic. And what is equally important is that it has an excellent diesel engine.

Yet, all the pluses are put to naught by one big Minus:

Troublesome ownership experience

Fiat’s inability to put in place a quality after-sales service network despite being in the country for 14 years, has been disappointing. Worse, it has led to poor resale value too.

The technology (mainly the electronic equipments) used in the Fiat Linea and the level of expertise needed in handling it demand higher equipment levels. It also requires more experienced technicians than are presently available in many Tata-Fiat service centres.

Lack of proper service network force some of the Linea owners to live with the niggling issues in their cars—not a good feeling! That also leads to a very weak demand for used Linea’s resulting in poor resale values.

Two-year old Linea’s are available at less than half their original price. And even then, you’d be lucky to find a buyer. Its competitor, like Honda City, retains more than 60 percent of its value even after three years.

Fiat’s association with Tata Motors for sales & service network was suppose to address this issue but hasn’t. There were reports that there will be few exclusive Fiat outlets but nothing has happened yet.

The volumes are perhaps too low to justify the expense. But without that, the volumes might remain low. It’s a chicken and egg situation.

Other factors

•  Underpowered Engines: The non T-Jet models were a little short on power as Fiat went all out for fuel efficiency. While most competing cars have 104-126 BHP on tap, Fiat had only 90.

•  Average Fit and Finish: The non T-Jet models did feel as well built as earlier Fiats. And its finish was no match for swish Honda City and Volkswagen Vento.

•  Loaded Quotient: When launched in 2009, the Fiat Linea had features like Bluetooth (Blue & Me), a rear AC vent and steering mounted audio controls, all of which were segment firsts.

However, now, most cars in the segment boast of these features along with new features like USB port, Auto-folding outside rear view mirrors, Aux-in port, reverse parking camera etc.

In 2010, Fiat addressed some of these issues with the introduction of Linea T-Jet and T-Jet Plus (both petrol powered) that had 113 BHP engine and plush leather upholstery. The fit and finish was notch higher too. But by then petrol prices had skyrocketed and petrol cars were out of fashion.

Conclusion

There is not much wrong with Linea, the car. Power issues (for petrol version) and fit and finish have already got addressed by T-Jet models. Fiat has an excellent 104 BHP 1.6 Multijet that can take care power issue in diesel variant.

But until Fiat resolves after sales service and regains the trust of customers at large, Linea would continue to struggle. And Fiat might not have too much time, or too many chances. It has had too many false dawns already.

40 COMMENTS

  1. Firstly it’s a great car, gorgeous looks, Good at Heart, comfortable and Safe.
    Available in both petrol and diesel.
    What ruins it is the dealer and the service network. Lack
    of confidence from buyers.
    Ruined further with stupid marketing campaign.
    What stopped me
    from buying the Linea was the turning radius.
    In pune it’s more difficult to park cars than to drive them.
    Secondly the resale value is uncertain.
    I had a bad experience with my palio.
    Where as while i sold

  2. Linea has a good design and decent features except for the shorter headroom at the rear.And the service outlet and A.S.S should be improved more to raise up their sales else Verna and Fiesta will murder it.(Anyway its half murderd now hee hee)

  3. Fiat Linea is a gud looking car. Two, it has an excellent ride. Three it is a ‘BIG’ car in fact it is as big as the Toyota Corolla Altis and the Honda Civic. And what is equally important is that it has an excellent diesel engine.But,yet the sales suffer bcoz after sales service is not gud,the resale value also not gud….
    But until Fiat resolves after sales service and regains the trust of customers at large, Linea would continue to struggle. ….

  4. 1 simple suggestion…. SEPARATE FROM TATA!!!! THEY ARE SCREWING WITH U BIG TIME!!!…. if that happens fiat can definitely be very close to the top. they were the first to give amazing features lik bluetooth and climate control etc in hatchbacks (punto) at a time wen hatchbacks looked lik and were considered a cheap, middle-class, use and throw means of transport. it was the first to bring along such pretty cars lik linea and punto. first to give us a sporty hot-hatch 10 years ago with the pali

  5. Man, I had shortlisted this machine i.e. Emotion Diesel, after a long research & advice.. n now this post…im totally confusedd.. yet again…

  6. I strongly disagree, Linea is not a bad car, slighty underpowered yes, but bad no way, The dynamics of the car are excellent, I think Fiat has to get their PR and promotion right, Linea is a very good car, the only reason it seems to be a bad buy is resale value. I would compare the Linea Diesel with the Corolla Diesel, same satisfying experience, they need to set the image right, I have traveled

  7. I wonder if fiat is satisfied just supplying engines for the Indian car makers which rake in the big bucks for them…I drive a palio and love it (despite the fuel effciency)…i love the New linea T-JET…and have been waiting for a diesel….but the thing is….FIAT first needs to flood the markets with spares…and then build a service network……the JV is not going to get them much..consumer

  8. Fiat’s inability to put in place a good quality after-sales service network despite being in the country for 14 years has left customers wondering about the company’s commitment to Indian market. Worse, it has led to poor resale value too.Lack of proper service network…Tata itself is not providing any good services after sales I think first Tata sld improve there after sales and fiat also t

  9. The real problem with Linea is poor sales and service oraganization and people. It’s got awesome look. Power, yes, the older variants are tortoises to start with. However, the kind of power and interior finish it has is not good enough to take on the competition.

  10. They can’t fight off santros, i10s, i20s, SWIFT, Ritz, indica vista, and son on with just a PUNTO that too at a premium pricing…..and the sedans… SX4, DZIRE, MANZA, all are fiat diesels….and in the petrol offer so many options…they should take lessons from Honda….not that wide a network but quality service and spare availability….or chevrolet beat offering a 3 year zero maintainance wa

  11. I’m happy with my T-Jet and the services offered so far, and that’s what matters to me :)

  12. I agree. All Fiat cars for that matter are great cars…. The only real problem is the sloppy after sales service…… and consequently resale value….. Honda cars only do well because of the impeccable service…. The build quality of Fiat is always miles ahead of any Honda…..

  13. Fiat tried to set right these shortcomings with the T-Jet which is a great car and could have taken on the Honda City. But, as you said, after sales service has been the Linea’s biggest stumbling block.

  14. I agree… Even I own a Fiat Linea… Love this car in all aspects expect the service part. Fist should do something for this…

  15. dont think too much..I would say it wont let u down so badly as presented here..jus go for it.

  16. What would you expect if you ask tata to sell it ? Can’t think of a linea customer walking into a tata showroom where most sales-person are complete backward thinking idioten

  17. Saumya, agree to Ram. It is good! One tip – just chk the ground clearance to suit your needs. That’s it!

  18. I too shortlisted the Di Em+, however, couldn’t resist T-Jet after I drove it :) :)

  19. hey thanks guys..few points :

    1. The T-Jet is Petrol – Diesel I feel is a sensible buy today as the fuel prices are rising..

    2. Yea the after sales – not only in terms of Sales & service.. but I also m wondering that are the parts really affordable.. or are they highly priced.. because if that’s the case then its just nothing but slow poision.. ek to poor service n then a hugge bill to follow.

  20. Hi! There are many sites which would give you a comparison specs btw TJet and Di Emo/+. Mileage abt 9kmpl, ordinary fuel, in Mumbai traffic. Power is improved due to Turbo kicking in at <2k rpm! Awesome acceleration!! Some highlights - better cabin quality, all 4 disc breaks, higher gr clearence for tjet+ - also has wider tires, leather upholstery; AC is improved I'm told as well. And off-course y

  21. Why I also chose the P over D is in the TD ‘D’ vehicle which had clocked abt 18k kms, I felt engine vibrations / heavy clutch – and all prev cars I’v had P .. so wasn’t too sure abt D maintenance etc. Infact this TJet cost me more than D Em+ ;)

  22. Its like, if you tell TATA to sell your products, might as well say tata to your brand !,hehe

  23. Saumya, go ahead and by the emotion pack, underpowered is all bull shit, take a test drive and decide, I know you will love the car, we are not F1 drivers…, the mid range is excellent, you will not find it underpowered, initial turbo lag, but you learn to live with it..

  24. lol ! some dealers though r trying to create a little FIAT lounge area .. with cushioned sofa’s etc :)

  25. I had a lot of apprehension when I thought about the Altis Diesel , But after the trial ,I was in Love, Trust me the same thing will happen with your Linea, I am already considering buying the Linea Emotion with option pack as my second car, My Dad loves it. and You are welcome bud.

  26. problem with T-Jet, and Laura TFSI, after you try them, everything else will feel underpowered, so my advise is dont, no matter what they say, the moment you push it, it is going to burn a hole in your pocket, you cannot drive these cars slow, it is sacrilege, if someone else is paying for your fuel, T-Jet, but resale values will be bad, even worse than diesel,if you are grounded family man, emoti

  27. non tjet – underpowered,,, tjet- expensive,,,, multijet- undepowered. it was good value at launch- but after several price hikes- its no more VFM now. poor marketing and poor history is taking toll.

  28. Are bhai audio. Kaisa hai re too. Coming to Mumbai on 1.08.11 and then will meet. My SISTER both BMW x1 at Mumbai.

  29. I test drove the linea emotion pack yesterday… n the feeling is juussttt awesommee.. .. the car is just soo goood i cant just stop thinking abt it.. though this is a 2007 car , it any day beats the competition.. as u suggested.. im all set for this one.. thanks a ton for ur advice…

  30. Thanks to all u guys… I have finally purchased the Linea Emotion Diesel MJD and boy I m veryy happy… this car is a beast.. specialy after the turbo kicks in.. now I m doubly sure that this car has been misrepresented in many places and forums.. this is a classssy machine… cheers guys.. and thanks once again…

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