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Thread: Fiat Brand Sales for February 2018

  1. #11
    Member olimpiaFIAT's Avatar
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    Hopefully the new turbo 500s kick things up a bit.

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    Senior Member Amacento's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tramonto View Post
    I do not know what it is about Chrysler and the Itialian cars. With Fiat this is the third time they have tried. First with Maserati from 89-91, then AR in the 90's and now Fiat. I thought the 3rd time was a charm. Or is this going to be a case of 3 strikes your out. They can not seem to learn the lesson. All three times it has been basically the same mistake. Until the dealers get someone in the showrooms that will advocate the Fiat brand this will always be a problem. I truly believe that Fiat management needs to come up with a program for the dealers. The biggest boat that both FCA and the local dealers are missing at this point is the Fiat Club of America. If these two organizations could come together at the table and have a brain storm. This could and would be the gasoline on the fire that Fiat needs. I think that a look at the Harley Davidson program of dealers and clubs would be in order. The clubs have been the BEST sells tool for HD. This brings in a third party. How many times have we all said or heard if you do not believe me go ask so and so. Third party confirmation is a very strong hammer and nail. Wake up Fiat go drink some of that strong Italian coffee and get the lead out of your shorts.
    Um... FCA tried partnering with Fiat Club America. In fact, they help sponsor and/or promote Fiat FreakOut every year. How do I know? I organized and my local club hosted FFO last summer. FCAUSA (as well as potential new membership) needs an incentive for continued support and the largest, and second oldest, national club has struggled to provide said incentive. That is just one reason for the current “changes” in the large club operations. No, Fiat Club America is far from the medicine for what ails FCAUSA. The North American arm of the automaker needs innovative operational ideas and a true partnership with dealers. Dealers, in turn, need to actively cultivate mutually beneficial relationships with individual owners. But most dealers... of any econo-marque... care little about post-purchase relationships unless the consumer finds a way to forge said relationship. I know. I put A LOT of energy helping dealers and owners alike.
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    My intent with suggesting a formal relationship between FCA Auto and FCA Club was at the local dealer and local members level. Until there is a serious hand holding by FCA Auto with the dealers nothing will ever be done. FCA Dealers need to learn there is more to sells than just pushing new cars out the door. As I recall Ford some years back was dealing with a need to energize not only new sales but keeping the present customer coming back. They came up with a very strong maintainece department and aftermarket department programs. There are many entergized Fiat owners that go to their local dealer with great expectations but walk away with only water being thrown on their fire. To the customer the dealer is the face of FCA Auto and at the present that face dose not look good to many Fiat owners. For some Fiat owners this Forum and the FCA Club are the only gas that gets thrown on their fires.

    As far as what is it going to take for FCA to turn around seems to be a crap shoot. In my heart I still believe that if Fiat would make a 500L with AWD so it could go head on with the Mini it would be an instant success. Also at this time it seems that fast SUV's are all the rage. Wonder if they took a 500x and made an Abarth edition. Give it a little more aggressive stance and looks with more power. Those that want a fast SUV from Europe but can not afford one of the pricey ones would jump all over it. Just my stink'n think'n.

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    Here, the Fremont and San Jose dealers dried up and I'm slightly nervous. Normandin Jeep/Dodge is doing service however so all is not lost.
    Btw what's the scoop on 2018 models? I'm hitting 75 and have decided a race car is in my near future. ( read that as Abarth )
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    Premium Member Southernroadrunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by luckymoi View Post
    Here, the Fremont and San Jose dealers dried up and I'm slightly nervous. Normandin Jeep/Dodge is doing service however so all is not lost.
    Btw what's the scoop on 2018 models? I'm hitting 75 and have decided a race car is in my near future. ( read that as Abarth )
    2012 Rosso Cabrio lounge DoD: 27Jul2011 65k miles, happy!
    Maybe they are still in the reorganization mode in your area. But the dealers around me don't hardly have any cars. So at least it's even on that part.
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    Senior Member Amacento's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tramonto View Post
    My intent with suggesting a formal relationship between FCA Auto and FCA Club was at the local dealer and local members level. Until there is a serious hand holding by FCA Auto with the dealers nothing will ever be done. FCA Dealers need to learn there is more to sells than just pushing new cars out the door. As I recall Ford some years back was dealing with a need to energize not only new sales but keeping the present customer coming back. They came up with a very strong maintainece department and aftermarket department programs. There are many entergized Fiat owners that go to their local dealer with great expectations but walk away with only water being thrown on their fire. To the customer the dealer is the face of FCA Auto and at the present that face dose not look good to many Fiat owners. For some Fiat owners this Forum and the FCA Club are the only gas that gets thrown on their fires.
    FCA, the club, is also more concerned with their roster and events than they are with helping owners navigate the FCAUSA system. Again, I know because I have been an outsider working on the inside of their MAJOR event. The club has little to no pull at the automaker. The club-automaker liaison can hardly get help himself (his words). FCAUSA is interested in free advertising to a point, but the advertising must be of the new cars. The brand needs more independent bloggers AND vloggers out there. The brand needs fresh ideas. An isolated group of enthusiasts is not a new idea. FotD is new and exciting for the brand in this country. Some elements of FFO 2017 piqued a lot of outside interest... FCAUSA Multimedia, Classic Cars and Automobile Magazine covered what attracted them. None of it is being replicated this year. A few owners have contacted me with complaints... I have nought to do with FFO 2018. Owners with fire have it for the brand or a specific model. FCA and FCAUSA have no idea how to harness it... it’s really too bad. This forum holds the attention of FCAUSA. A handful of owners held/hold the attention of FCAUSA. Both corporate entities need to figure out how to retain what’s good for them.
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  11. #17
    A lot of this boils down to money. There are some dealers that work with the club and are enthusiast dealers. However, one of the issues is that it costs money for the dealer to do neat things and if they aren't making money on the cars, it is tough to offer freebies to the club. People love to visit these good dealers and spend tons of time asking questions and test driving cars, but when it comes down to buying they shop till they drop and buy at the 'deep discount Charlie's - we don't care what we sell-megastores' two towns over. Or if they do buy, they chisel so hard on the price there's no money left in the car. They won't even buy an oil filter (which turns out to cost less at the dealer than Autozone, by the way). That's the reality that has to be overcome to get a dealer to work with a club. If you go in looking for $$ it's going to be a tough sell.

    Besides the money, it is also the time the staff has to invest. Contrary to popular believe, a salesman isn't there to wine and dine people and spend hours answering questions and going on aimless test drives with people that may buy a car within their lifetime. They are there to sell cars. They have to average 1 car sold for every 3 people talked to. That's called their closing ratio and if they don't perform, they are out of a job. Period. It's kind of a screwed up system, and that's why you frequently get blown off if you aren't ready to buy. Many salespeople are reluctant to spend time with someone who isn't ready to buy because that kills they closing ratio which is closely monitored by management. That's how the business traditionally works. So having an event and getting some participation would probably mean staff doing it on their day off.

    That's kind of the back story so whatever event is planned has to be attractive enough to overcome those points. As enthusiasts it can be hard to imagine that someone working at a dealership wouldn't want to have fun with the cars, but it is just a stressful job for most employees.

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    Many salespeople are reluctant to spend time with someone who isn't ready to buy because that kills they closing ratio which is closely monitored by management
    That's one big thing that sold me on FIAT and the stand alone studio (though part of a big family run megagroup) where I bought it, they DID spend time with someone not ready to buy... me. At the time they were the only dealer around and I wanted to be sure about who I was buying from. The first time I went in (August 2013) I made it clear I wasn't ready to buy and that I was just "curious" about the cars and was just doing a little "tire kickin'". Got a friendly greeting at the door from a nice lady and her dog who later turned out to be their finance person. She went and got Edward who spent over an hour with me answering my questions and we ended going out for a test drive even though I made it clear I wasn't ready to buy. In January 2014 I went and got my own FIAT. No high pressure sales tactics ... in fact no pressure at all and I wound up with a better loan rate than even my credit union could provide (they shopped it around). I still go there for service even though there are now dealers much closer. Most of the same people I dealt with four years ago are still there and in a business where employment lifespan is measured in weeks and months, that's a rarity. It was and remains the best automotive buying (and service) experience I've ever had and at 64, I've had a few. I didn't give the studio my loyalty- they earned it.

    I think the difference is my studio cultivates relationships, a practice that's common with small town dealers but a foreign concept to most big dealers and a practice ideally suited to selling FIAT's. My boss and another woman I work with are loyal Mopar owners. Both have had a business relationship with their respective dealers and salesmen for many, many years. That's a good thing imho- it builds brand loyalty and if you do have an issue, they might even go to bat on your behalf. Sometimes the old ways are better.

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  15. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by rustbucket View Post
    That's one big thing that sold me on FIAT and the stand alone studio (though part of a big family run megagroup) where I bought it, they DID spend time with someone not ready to buy... me. At the time they were the only dealer around and I wanted to be sure about who I was buying from. The first time I went in (August 2013) I made it clear I wasn't ready to buy and that I was just "curious" about the cars and was just doing a little "tire kickin'". Got a friendly greeting at the door from a nice lady and her dog who later turned out to be their finance person. She went and got Edward who spent over an hour with me answering my questions and we ended going out for a test drive even though I made it clear I wasn't ready to buy. In January 2014 I went and got my own FIAT. No high pressure sales tactics ... in fact no pressure at all and I wound up with a better loan rate than even my credit union could provide (they shopped it around). I still go there for service even though there are now dealers much closer. Most of the same people I dealt with four years ago are still there and in a business where employment lifespan is measured in weeks and months, that's a rarity. It was and remains the best automotive buying (and service) experience I've ever had and at 64, I've had a few. I didn't give the studio my loyalty- they earned it.

    I think the difference is my studio cultivates relationships, a practice that's common with small town dealers but a foreign concept to most big dealers and a practice ideally suited to selling FIAT's. My boss and another woman I work with are loyal Mopar owners. Both have had a business relationship with their respective dealers and salesmen for many, many years. That's a good thing imho- it builds brand loyalty and if you do have an issue, they might even go to bat on your behalf. Sometimes the old ways are better.
    That's awesome. When I sold cars, that's how I was. I spent a lot of time with people and always had the highest "be-backs" at the dealership. I was more into the cars and people and wasn't into the money so people would come back and buy.

    Traditionally, European car buyers required salespeople with more detailed product and technical knowledge and frequently would buy a car over several visits. Domestic sales were more about discounts, prices and buy it now tactics and little technical discussion. This domestic kind of selling was one of the concerns a lot of the old timers were concerned about as it doesn't seem to suit a car like the 500 which really needs an excellent command of product knowledge to demonstrate its superiority over the competition. Fiat sales aren't going to get better if they are being sold by indifferent and unknowledgeable salespeople that just lop dollars off of the price. I really hope they address that. Someone at Fiat USA asked me what I thought about CDJR dealers selling the cars and that's what I told them.

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  17. #20
    Senior Member Amacento's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fiat500USA View Post
    Traditionally, European car buyers required salespeople with more detailed product and technical knowledge and frequently would buy a car over several visits. Domestic sales were more about discounts, prices and buy it now tactics and little technical discussion. This domestic kind of selling was one of the concerns a lot of the old timers were concerned about as it doesn't seem to suit a car like the 500 which really needs an excellent command of product knowledge to demonstrate its superiority over the competition. Fiat sales aren't going to get better if they are being sold by indifferent and unknowledgeable salespeople that just lop dollars off of the price. I really hope they address that. Someone at Fiat USA asked me what I thought about CDJR dealers selling the cars and that's what I told them.
    Great points, Chris.

    I'd add most small cars face the same dilemma because the margins are small and there isn't much in the way of technical info that grabs the USAmerican consumer's attention. 101-160hp? 'Not gonna grab anyone's attention. Middle-of-the-road fuel economy for one of the smallest cars in the segment? 'Not gonna grab anyone's attention. Tech/Mech-based Stop Sales? 'Gonna grab the wrong attention. Lack of presence at auto shows? 'Gonna grab the wrong attention.

    Superior aesthetic design is only gonna get an economy car so far. What can a typical salesperson say, with passion, that'll put people in cars? And why would they pour that energy into a car that isn't putting money in their pockets?

    There are only so many Hondapro Jason-types in the world. FCAUSA and FCA ought to be glomming on to the few and pouring energy, if not money, into supporting their efforts. But those corporate entities insist they way things were done in the "good ole' days" is still the way things should be done today. I give FIAT S.p.A. credit for their online campaigns and marketing road trips. I give them credit for putting celebrities in their cars and adverts. But 1,000 cool campaigns and a handful of happening celebs cannot outdo what 10 hardcore enthusiasts with fresh ideas and the endless energy can accomplish. I give FCA credit for taking a chance on Cream City 500 Club... doing so got them more press than the previous 33 years.

    Think how inexpensive it would have been for FIAT S.p.A. to link the top 5-10 bloggers, vloggers and event coordinators by flying them to joint events around the globe. Imagine FCAUSA following the exploits of that small group. Consider the impact of plugging the footage into some of their tv adverts. Instead, they hired non-FIAT people to drive around the country in order to host less than viral events and they asked FCA to partner with them without a clear desired output to their inputs. Maybe the fact FIAT is company built on old money is a bad thing? I dunno.
    Last edited by Amacento; 03-13-2018 at 04:48 AM.
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