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Thread: Fiat Sales for September 2017

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    Fiat Sales for September 2017

    Fiat500USA.com Has Just Posted the Following:

    The Fiat Brand sold a total of 2,206 cars in September, down 24 % compared to the same month last year. Hurt by declining sales in the small car market; Fiat sales year-to-date are running 15% below last year.September Fiat 500 hatch and Cabrio model sales amounted to 1,016 a 31 % decline compared to September last year. Sales of the 500X crossover and 124 Spider were also down

    Read about it here...

    abarth500forum.com fiat124spiderforum.com fiat500lusaforum.com fiat500xforum.com

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    From a business perspective, this continued down escalator sales pattern is approaching unsustainable for FCA to continue in the U.S.

    If I were a dealer with a Fiat or Alfa Romeo franchise, I'd be really pissed. Why would I hire and maintain a dedicated sales and service department for a vehicle line that sell at a rate that could be counted on one hand? Besides all that, Fiat provides tepid, poorly communicated marketing for the brand.

    It's like the 70's all over again, except now that FCA seems to have many of the bugs worked out with all models but the 500L, it may be too late to recover.

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    Why would you be a "pissed" dealer? Do you think dealers were unaware of the risks involved with taking on the small and sporty Italian marques? No one forced them to buy in. Dealers haven't been forced to keep a dedicated team for some time now. Many of the earliest dealers owned CDJR shops and placed their FIAT shops on the same campus as their CDJR shops. Keeping inventory is the real make or break. Keep too little and people shop elsewhere. Keep too much and you gotta move 'em.

    The Stop Sale on the Elle all but killed that car. The same could have happened to the Jeep Renegade, but the Renegade is an Italian-built truck with a Jeep badge.

    Every new FIAT offering introduces new technologies and options. That "new" unfortunately comes at a price. I dig the Elle and the X in the Urbana package. So I hope FCA can hold out with the margins made on other marques.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amacento View Post
    Why would you be a "pissed" dealer?
    See my original comment above. Beyond what was mentioned there, in a memo touted around this very site over a year ago, FCA was supposed to be making sweeping changes to the service department structure by combining support with Chrysler. Didn't happen, because Fiat vehicles require separate and special training for that particular brand. Dealers didn't want to PAY to send their Chrysler techs to training school for a brand that they sell so few of. That, and most dealerships can't afford to have their techs away from the store for a week for training.

    This is a lot like what happened in the 80's, where finding a dealership with a Fiat-trained mechanic, let alone from a dealership, was/is like finding hen's teeth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Amacento View Post
    Do you think dealers were unaware of the risks involved with taking on the small and sporty Italian marques? No one forced them to buy in. Dealers haven't been forced to keep a dedicated team for some time now. Many of the earliest dealers owned CDJR shops and placed their FIAT shops on the same campus as their CDJR shops. Keeping inventory is the real make or break. Keep too little and people shop elsewhere. Keep too much and you gotta move 'em.
    I was speaking with a local sales manager who is concerned that they had been sold a bill of goods, insofar how FCA was going to aggressively promote and incentivize the brand. None of that happened. Poor promotion of both the Fiat and Alfa Romeo brands: The Gulia was meant to go up against the BMW 3-Series. Just the tag lines alone say volumes: BMW- "The Ultimate Driving Machine"
    Alfa Romeo- "See You Later...Gulia!" What the Hell is that supposed to be telling the consumer? See you later??

    The same marketing department did the Fiat ad campaign, with crazy-a$$ Charlie Sheen with a poorly Photo Shopped burnout in his living room. What was that supposed to say to the performance of the Abarth? Not only did FCA spend a lot of money to get a C-level actor with substance abuse issues, but the ads said nothing about the car.

    Quote Originally Posted by Amacento View Post
    The Stop Sale on the Elle all but killed that car. The same could have happened to the Jeep Renegade, but the Renegade is an Italian-built truck with a Jeep badge.
    I submit what killed the "L" was: the ugly appearance, poor build quality/reliability, mediocre fuel economy, poor handling, and weak transmission. It wasn't only Consumer Reports that gave the L a failing grade. The fact is, the L does nothing particularly well. (Sorry L-fans)

    Jeep is a huge brand, and I doubt few consumers going into look at a Jeep, is aware of the similarities to the Fiat Model X. The Renegade appeals to someone who can't afford a vehicle with actual off road capabilities, and those who would probably never take a Renegade off road anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by Amacento View Post
    Every new FIAT offering introduces new technologies and options. That "new" unfortunately comes at a price. I dig the Elle and the X in the Urbana package. So I hope FCA can hold out with the margins made on other marques.
    I do agree that FCA has made improvements to the brand since the U.S. introduction (except the L). That said, other than fans of the brand that lurk here, how is FCA promoting it? Answer: they aren't.

    The point is: If FCA has given up on the Fiat brand, so be it. Their dealer network has paid the price of FCA's botched management of the Fiat and Alfa Romeo brands.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KellyfromVA View Post
    See my original comment above. Beyond what was mentioned there, in a memo touted around this very site over a year ago, FCA was supposed to be making sweeping changes to the service department structure by combining support with Chrysler. Didn't happen, because Fiat vehicles require separate and special training for that particular brand. Dealers didn't want to PAY to send their Chrysler techs to training school for a brand that they sell so few of. That, and most dealerships can't afford to have their techs away from the store for a week for training.

    This is a lot like what happened in the 80's, where finding a dealership with a Fiat-trained mechanic, let alone from a dealership, was/is like finding hen's teeth.
    See my original post. "Do you think dealers were unaware?..."

    Quote Originally Posted by KellyfromVA View Post
    I was speaking with a local sales manager who is concerned that they had been sold a bill of goods, insofar how FCA was going to aggressively promote and incentivize the brand. None of that happened. Poor promotion of both the Fiat and Alfa Romeo brands: The Gulia was meant to go up against the BMW 3-Series. Just the tag lines alone say volumes: BMW- "The Ultimate Driving Machine"
    Alfa Romeo- "See You Later...Gulia!" What the Hell is that supposed to be telling the consumer? See you later??

    The same marketing department did the Fiat ad campaign, with crazy-a$$ Charlie Sheen with a poorly Photo Shopped burnout in his living room. What was that supposed to say to the performance of the Abarth? Not only did FCA spend a lot of money to get a C-level actor with substance abuse issues, but the ads said nothing about the car.
    I spent countless hours speaking with sales managers, sales teams, service teams and brand ambassadors over the course of 5 years in the market. The local FIAT license has passed through 3 different dealers. My car has also been serviced at a non-local dealer AND one CDJR-only dealer (no FIATs). So, I feel fairly secure everything I post about automaker and dealer approaches. I feel especially well-versed in how well (or not) those approaches work in our region.

    A person blowing dust on an M3 or a Guilia doesn't do so to relive a commercial. Period. That stated... I recall a lot of excitement, coming from actual enthusiasts, when the ARGQV trailers were released. I'm not gonna address the ranting.

    Quote Originally Posted by KellyfromVA View Post
    I submit what killed the "L" was: the ugly appearance, poor build quality/reliability, mediocre fuel economy, poor handling, and weak transmission. It wasn't only Consumer Reports that gave the L a failing grade. The fact is, the L does nothing particularly well. (Sorry L-fans)

    Jeep is a huge brand, and I doubt few consumers going into look at a Jeep, is aware of the similarities to the Fiat Model X. The Renegade appeals to someone who can't afford a vehicle with actual off road capabilities, and those who would probably never take a Renegade off road anyway.
    You clearly have very strong, personal, opinions. You felt compelled to regurgitate things the reviewer you cited wrote about the car. Facts: The Elle is the #1 selling car in segment in the EU. Hands down. Europeans general have the best looking model ranges and they're choosing the FIAT 500L. I still see 500Ls on our streets. Some of them are Urbanas so I know the ones I see aren't exclusively early adopters.

    Quote Originally Posted by KellyfromVA View Post
    I do agree that FCA has made improvements to the brand since the U.S. introduction (except the L). That said, other than fans of the brand that lurk here, how is FCA promoting it? Answer: they aren't.

    The point is: If FCA has given up on the Fiat brand, so be it. Their dealer network has paid the price of FCA's botched management of the Fiat and Alfa Romeo brands.
    Correction: Many, if not most, the early dealers supporting the brand re-entry paid a price. The CDJR dealers that decided to jump on the bandwagon carry very few FIATs at any given time because they reaped the benefits of sitting back and learning. They don't need to build separate buildings. They don't need to hire completely separate staff. They don't need to bid for Alfa Romeo.

    The consumer paid the heftiest price. The early approach to market re-entry made regularly scheduled service a chore. Not many were willing to take the $$ hit for an unproven brand with only one model (different trim levels).

    The lack of adverts post-launch of the new models is disappointing. But FIAT USA addressed, pretty much, every other misstep. It doesn't take a "lurker" to see and admit that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amacento View Post

    I spent countless hours speaking with sales managers, sales teams, service teams and brand ambassadors over the course of 5 years in the market. The local FIAT license has passed through 3 different dealers. My car has also been serviced at a non-local dealer AND one CDJR-only dealer (no FIATs). So, I feel fairly secure everything I post about automaker and dealer approaches. I feel especially well-versed in how well (or not) those approaches work in our region.
    Glad to hear that you're satisfied with your service experience. One only has to read many of the frustrated customers who have posted contrary comments of their service experience. And yes, I've experienced it too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Amacento View Post
    A person blowing dust on an M3 or a Guilia doesn't do so to relive a commercial. Period. That stated... I recall a lot of excitement, coming from actual enthusiasts, when the ARGQV trailers were released.
    My sister is a rep at a large advertising agency. Especially when introducing a new brand, first impressions really do matter. Again, which has the more clear first impression: "The ultimate driving machine", or "See you later, Gulia?" My sister, who can care less about cars, even says the Fiat promotion was doomed to fail, mainly because the message(s) are cryptic. There simply aren't enough enthusiasts for any brand of cars that can either afford, or solely buoy any automobile brand.

    Quote Originally Posted by Amacento View Post
    I'm not gonna address the ranting.
    Wise move.

    Quote Originally Posted by Amacento View Post
    You clearly have very strong, personal, opinions.
    And you don't?

    Quote Originally Posted by Amacento View Post
    You felt compelled to regurgitate things the reviewer you cited wrote about the car. Facts: The Elle is the #1 selling car in segment in the EU. Hands down. Europeans general have the best looking model ranges and they're choosing the FIAT 500L.
    When I drove from Lake Como to Rome about a year ago, I saw very few L's on the Autostrada. I saw many more Peugeot's, Lancia's, Fiat Punto's, Mercedes, and even some Jeep Wranglers.

    For the record, I didn't regurgitate anything. I've looked-at, driven and tried to find some redeeming qualities to the 500L, and still can't get around the fact it does nothing well. It's ugly, gutless, unstable, and unreliable. Don't believe the unreliable comment? Just look at the "happy" consumers in the L section of this very site. And yes, that's my opinion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Amacento View Post
    I still see 500Ls on our streets. Some of them are Urbanas so I know the ones I see aren't exclusively early adopters.
    Of course, everyone makes an incorrect auto buying decision now and then.

    Quote Originally Posted by Amacento View Post
    Correction: Many, if not most, the early dealers supporting the brand re-entry paid a price.
    And many have closed up shop. So you're saying that's a good thing? I submit not for people who bought a car from that dealer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Amacento View Post
    The CDJR dealers that decided to jump on the bandwagon carry very few FIATs at any given time because they reaped the benefits of sitting back and learning.
    Really? What benefits are those? Even lower sales?

    Quote Originally Posted by Amacento View Post
    They don't need to build separate buildings. They don't need to hire completely separate staff. They don't need to bid for Alfa Romeo.
    I'm pretty sure that FCA insisted dealers separate the brands, so one brand didn't cannibalize the other. If you are on the sales floor and have the choice of selling a Chrysler 200 or 300 for $40K, or a Fiat 500 or L for $23K, which one would you push?

    Quote Originally Posted by Amacento View Post
    The consumer paid the heftiest price.
    You can say that again. And how long, especially in a social media world, will consumers continue paying that price? Recent sales figures speak volumes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Amacento View Post
    The early approach to market re-entry made regularly scheduled service a chore. Not many were willing to take the $$ hit for an unproven brand with only one model (different trim levels).
    And can you blame them? So far, their concern has proven to be valid.

    Quote Originally Posted by Amacento View Post
    The lack of adverts post-launch of the new models is disappointing. But FIAT USA addressed, pretty much, every other misstep. It doesn't take a "lurker" to see and admit that.
    What missteps have been addressed?
    Let's review:

    * Adding the additional models like the 500X and 124 Spider has increased sales. Well... no.
    * The Chairman's commitment to improve customer service after the sale has improved overall service levels, whether at Fiat Studio's or Chrysler dealerships. Didn't happen.
    * After a slow start in advertising the 500, new advertising and promotion has increased sales. Nope.

  11. #7
    A couple of quick points. The facts are the 500L is the best selling car in its segment in Europe and in Italy. Just because few were seen in a particular location doesn't mean much.

    September sales in Italy:

    "FCA dominated the monthly rankings once again in September with the Fiat Panda,
    Fiat Tipo, Lancia Ypsilon and Fiat 500 taking the top four positions, followed by the
    Fiat 500X and Fiat 500L in sixth and seventh place."


    " The Fiat Panda continued as the
    number one selling car in Italy, with more than 12,300 units sold, and a 41.3% share
    of the A segment. The Fiat Panda and Fiat 500 (fourth overall) accounted for a
    combined share of nearly 58.0% of the A segment. The Fiat Tipo posted another
    strong monthly performance, with more than 4,700 vehicles sold, and ranked second
    overall and first in the C segment (segment share above 20.0%). The Fiat 500X ranked
    sixth overall for the month and was leader in its segment with a 19.7% share.
    Following closely behind was the Fiat 500L, which ranked seventh overall and
    dominated its segment with a share of more than 48.0%."*


    Another indisputable fact is the 500L has the interior room of a fullsize car. If it is looked at objectively, it is a very versatile car with multiple seating arrangement luggage configurations. As far as it handling poorly, that seems to be a stretch and I have never heard anyone mention that.

    Some other attributes and facts about the 500L:

    • Best-in-class interior volume
    • Best-in-class front head and shoulder room
    • Best-in-class rear cargo space (with back seats up)
    • Full-size car interior room
    • Most standard torque in its class
    • More than 40 available safety and security features
    • Over 50 seating and storage configurations
    • Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's 2014 Top Safety Pick
    • Leather Steering Wheel in all models
    • World's first use of Lexan side glass (D-Pillar) in a production vehicle
    • Autostick mode for transmission
    • European handling and driving dynamics


    Clearly there are things the 500L does very well in.


    *Fiat group press

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    Not to state the obvious Chris, but we don't live in Europe.

    That, and the vast majority of U.S. consumers interested in cars for utilitarian purposes, rightfully so, don't give a $hit about the best selling cars in Europe. If I'm buying a car in the U.S., I want to know it's a good value, efficient, well designed, reliable, and will be supported by the manufacturer. Compared with similar vehicles from other brands, including even FCA with their minivans, the Fiat L misses the mark on most of those fronts.

  14. #9
    When I drove from Lake Como to Rome about a year ago, I saw very few L's on the Autostrada. I saw many more Peugeot's, Lancia's, Fiat Punto's, Mercedes, and even some Jeep Wranglers.
    I'm just stating the obvious that the 500L is a best seller in Europe, regardless of how many were seen. While the 500L hasn't caught on here, it is not fair to portray it as a outright failure. Not everyone likes cars like this or gets it, especially in this country. This is a very European car, which is pretty different than what mainstream pickup and Camry buyers are into. You think it is worthless and don't see the value, OK, but 300,000 ++ others have a different opinion. The refreshed model is doing well, too. Maybe the Europeans know something we don't?

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    Thanks for bringing some more facts into the e-conversation, Chris. I can see by KVA's response he will change his stance each time facts don't back his claims. I'll allow that to inform any future crossing of paths.

    -Interestingly enough, USA ARG sales spiked from 36 in 2016 (5 months) to 6411 (9 months). That's a model with a much larger profit margin than an A500. We'll see what it does in 2017.

    -"Pretty sure" does not a fact make, KVA. Schlossmann's CDFJR, in Milwaukee, parks their FIATs and ABARTHs alongside their Dodge and Chrysler ranges. The 500X, for example, sits in the minivan and SUV section of the showroom. I'm not a big fan of CDJR service, but I can see there is a concerted effort... in our CDFJR shop... to improve customer post-purchase experience as a whole. The Dodge Boys do not have a strong track record in that department. It was much better when we had a stand alone studio.

    -One can directly address an otherwise ignored "challenge", but that doesn't mean the "challenge" goes away. I'll use KVA's final points as an example. FCA clearly, by what's included in KVA's post, added models, moves to improve post-purchase experience and released a few new adverts. These moves to address what's lacking don't make the "challenges" magically disappear.

    Every honest FIAT fan (or non-fan) can point out what's not working. What would be a lot more helpful is to share actionable pointed ideas that could/should/would turn things around. It is clearly a challenge for FCAUSA. FCAITA seems to have their game down pat.
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