The enthusiasm for the Fiat coming to the market has diminished. At first, it was something that would be mixed in… now [Fiat-Chrysler is] going to have to present a compelling story and product to back me investing at least $1 million to build a new showroom
Everyone loves the Fiat 500, but Chrysler’s dealers aren’t exactly thrilled that they have to build brand new showrooms to sell the Italian (er, Mexican) subcompact, as witnessed by the quote above in the WSJ [sub]. Another dealer adds that he knows enough troubled MINI and Smart stores to be spooked by the prospect of dropping hundreds of thousands of dollars on what will clearly be a niche offering. Yet another calls it an “excellent opportunity,” but Chrysler needs to find 200 qualified dealers to make Fiat’s American adventure a reality. The credit and car markets, gas prices and Fiat’s less-than-stellar American-market legacy all conspire against the scheme. To say nothing of the poor historical precedents for Chrysler’s ballooning brand portfolio. But as usual, CEO Sergio Marchionne has it all figured out…
the multibrand experience is already a way of life in the U.S…. In the case of GM, they had brands that were overlapping. Chrysler doesn’t have that problem. Jeep is unique, Dodge is a widely popular brand and Ram is about truck
See, Dodge builds mass-market cars with a somewhat sporty image, and Fiat builds fashionable niche cars with a somewhat sporty image, while Alfa Romeo builds fashionable sporty versions of mass-market cars, and Chrysler builds mass-market cars with a (allegedly) somewhat luxurious image. Meanwhile, Jeep builds SUVs (along with Dodge) as well as large and small crossovers (along with Dodge, Chrysler and Alfa), while Ram builds trucks. Isn’t it easy to see how overlap won’t be a problem? Oh, and speaking of overlap, there are already plans for four Phoenix, AZ-area Fiat-Alfa dealers, and Chrysler reportedly wants two dealers in Las Vegas. Haven’t we seen this movie before?