Despite sales of the Fiat 500 picking up, Fiat dealers are getting antsy for new product, with some showrooms struggling to turn a profit based on sales of the subcompact alone.
Reuters reports that dealers have been given the runaround about future product – including everyone’s favorite phantom marque, Alfa Romeo. Fiat has twice postponed a meeting to discuss these matters, and no future date has been set.
But dealers are feeling the stress of having to market a small, subcompact car in a market that has traditionally been less than receptive to these products. Gary Brown, chairman of the Chrysler dealer council and the owner of a Fiat store on Long Island, described his sentiments
“I’m struggling to break even…With the one car in a small (volume) segment, it’s a tough go right now. The real key is rolling out new product, additional offerings,” said Brown. “The four-door (500L) is really going to be a shot in the arm. It will put a franchise on more people’s radar as they are shopping for a small car.”
Fiat’s sales are up slightly in 2013, growing along with the rest of the market. The brand has managed to reach the milestone of 40,000 vehicles annually, something that took rival brand Mini twice as long. But the constant delays and backtracking around product, especially Alfa Romeo’s return to America beyond the pricey 4C sports car is an obvious source of frustration to a dealer body that has committed to significant investment on the promise of a range of new cars from both Fiat and Alfa.