By on August 12, 2011

If you answered in the negative when we asked if Fiat would be able to make its 50k unit sales goal in the US this year, you were right. Executives for the Italian brand tell Automotive News [sub] that

“We lost the whole first quarter”… If the store openings had occurred as planned, the sales target would’ve been achieved… Now, that will “probably not” occur this year.

This is no real surprise. Thanks to the slow rollout, Fiat has sold only 7,982 units so far this year… but even with sales at their current levels (3,083 units in July), sales would only barely top 36k units in a 12-month period. Of course, next year the 500 is joined by a higher-performance Abarth version (no, not that one) as well as a hideously expensive electric version, so sales should continue to climb. On the other hand, the brand is hoping for 100k units next year, or about double the MINI brand’s 12-month average… so Fiat may well be looking at another missed sales goal anyway.

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24 Comments on “Fiat Will Miss Its 50k Sales Goal This Year. What About Next Year?...”


  • avatar

    100K sounds a little optimistic, unless they’re lumping in Canada, Mexico and/or Brazil in that number. (Isn’t some of the Toluca 500 production being sold in Brazil?)

    I don’t know about the electric version being “hideously expensive” since we don’t know the price yet. Sergio’s comments may just be hyperbole.

    Oh, and I own a 500 Sport myself, I picked it up on the Fourth of July. 1500 miles so far, and I love this little guy.

  • avatar
    mrhappypants

    I believe it’s been covered by TTAC previously, but the model mix sitting on dealer lots can’t be helping the situation any. There isn’t a single 500 at any of the three nearest Fiat dealers optioned they way I want one (5-speed Sport, with all the gadgets). Hopefully they’ll see all the 6-speed autos baking in the California sun and realize they need to offer a 5-speed in all configurations. I’d buy one with every doodad, including Convertible roof, but no way in hell am I buying an automatic.

  • avatar
    Brantta

    Edward Niedermeyer:
    “…but even with sales at their current levels (3,083 units in July), sales would only barely top 36k units in a 12-month period.”

    July sales are not a good indicator. Why?
    1. Fiat marketing and ads were non-existent, only dealers were running local ads.
    2. National ad campaign started on August 1, 2011.
    3. Now there are 93 opened Fiat Studios, 30 of those opened during July. Fiat sales estimate was based on 130 open Studios. The goal is to have 130 by year-end.

    But I agree that Fiat will most likely miss the next year’s sales goal by 10,000-15,000.

    • 0 avatar
      Type57SC

      They’re not going to have the money for full national campaigns for 12 months so considering they put all their eggs in the buzz-generation basket and considering how great the product is, this launch is very disappointing.

  • avatar
    stuart

    If FIAT has about 90 dealers, the numbers above suggest that, on average, every dealer is selling about one car per day. (Of course, some will be much better, and others worse…) I’ve no idea if that’s enough to sustain a dealer.

    FWIW, I’ve owned FIATs in the past, I’m still fond of the marque, and I’d like to see them succeed. But I’m still scared that they’ll screw it up somehow, and I’ll never buy any car new, so I’m not in any position to help. :-)

    stuart

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I was in Boston last week, I can tell you there are four brand new Fiat 500′s you can rent at the Avis Counter at the Back Bay Train Station.

    I’ll add I’ve seen a surprising number in the wild on both coasts – I’ve probably seen more 500′s than Cruze’s.

  • avatar
    Patrickj

    I’m only seeing Fiat 500s on the road in the Maryland suburbs of DC in the past three weeks or so.

  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    Finally, a rival for the Smart Car. These are a fad car. A tiny fad car. The fad is tiny too. I wonder how many dealers were smart enough to not spill the cash for the “New Fiat Showroom?”

  • avatar
    Joss

    Hopefully the Abarth & C will give a shot in the arm. Then there’s wagon and 4-door in the brew. But bring on Alfa baby. I want Fiat to succeed. On automatic I don’t know if the pending 7-speed dual clutch is a desirable replacement for the Asin 6-speed, is Fiat’s dual clutch a lovable thing?

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Generally speaking, new car sales are not very profitable for dealerships. On the new vehicle side; financing, accessories, extended warranties and dealer installed options are where the money is made.

    Overall, parts, service and used car sales (the inventory for which is often a by-product of new car sales) are where the real profits are made. If I had a Fiat new vehicle dealership, I would be stocking my used car section with all manner of special interest vehicles to sell to the demographic which is drawn to the 500.

  • avatar
    LDMAN1

    What happened to underpromise and overdeliver?

    • 0 avatar
      Type57SC

      You don’t know many Italians, do you?

      • 0 avatar
        LDMAN1

        Purtroppo, si. Conosco bene il paese e la gente. This is not about Italians. In order to launch a brand/car in a “new” market most manufacturers inflate the business case (volumes/financials) in order to get approval. This is not unique to Italians companies but this phenomenon is prevalent in that country. Alfa Romeo was supposed to be back in States in 2009, then the goal post kept moving and we are now talking about 2014. I just think that Italians should curb this tendency.
        Have a look at the state of Italian economy. It is queuing up to be the next Spain or Greece (PIIGS = Portugal Ireland Italy Greece Spain). Luca de Meo’s “defection” to VW was a big loss to Fiat and I suspect that part of the reasons he left had something to do with unrealistic goals that were shoved down his throat
        .

    • 0 avatar
      Patz

      @ludman1

      why exactly ‘purtroppo’ (=unfortunately)?

      • 0 avatar
        LDMAN1

        E solo un modo di dire: It’s just an expression.

      • 0 avatar
        Patz

        @ldman1

        OK, scusa, per un attimo ho pensato che non ti piacessero gli italiani…
        Ok, I’m sorry, I’ve been wondering for an instant that you maybe don’t like italians….

      • 0 avatar
        LDMAN1

        No. Il paese mi ha piaciuto. Il cibo anche. E un grande popolo. Dal punto di vista lavorativo per essere sincero sono rimasto sconfitto ma era una buona esperienza. Ma come diceva un amico mio italiano: “l’Italia e’ un casino organizzato, ma alla fine funziona.” Credo che sono fortunato.
        No. I liked the country. Also the food. They are great people. From a work point of view, to be honest, I found my myself a bit “dumb founded.” But like an Italian friend of mine told me: “Italy is an organised mess that in the end works.” I think that I am blessed. :-)

      • 0 avatar
        Patz

        Fully agree with that – as I’m Italian. Fortunately and unfortunately… ;)

  • avatar

    In related news, AutoWeek is claiming that the 500 EV will be priced at $30,000. Either they’re making it up, or Fiat is prepared to lose a lot of money over the EV.

    http://www.autoweek.com/article/20110811/CARNEWS/110819983

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I have been seeing quite a few here in NYC over the last month or so. Hopefully they will do a wagon version to compete with Mini Clubman.


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