Shock! Fiat Delays Alfa's U.S. Market Entry, Recalibrates China

shock fiat delays alfas u s market entry recalibrates china

With U.S. new car sales set to fall below the most pessimistic of pre-metldown prognostications (ours at 12m p.a.), is it any wonder that Fiat has decided not to brings Alfa Romeo brand stateside? Our resident historians will be glad to recount the absolute ass-kicking Alfa endured in The Land of the Free, but again, this is the worst of all possible times to try and get something started in the American market. Strike that. Just BEFORE the collapse would have been the worst time. This is an excellent time to NOT import mass market Italian cars stateside. And so they aren’t. “Alfa’s U.S. return was originally planned by {Fiat Group and Fiat Group Automobiles CEO Sergio] Marchionne for the final quarter of 2009, then later delayed to the 2010,” Automotive News [sub] reports “In pushing that back another year, Marchionne told analysts, because ‘it would be simply crazy investing for returning Alfa in such a depressed U.S. market.'” And so… “Alfa’s return to the United States will be delayed by a year to 2011.” [TTAC tip: don’t hold you breath.] China after the jump.

Sergio also readjusted his Chinese sales targets. “The new 2010 goal for Fiat sales in China is now 50,000.” That’s gonna be rough, as “In China, Fiat has so far missed all the targets Marchionne had previously set. The Italian automaker has not produced vehicles in China since December 2007, when it ended its joint venture with Nanjing Automobile. Fiat is currently importing ‘a few thousand’ vehicles produced in Italy and Turkey, Marchionne said. Each is sold at a loss, but the automaker needs to continue importing vehicles to bolster its Chinese dealer network. Because of this, Marchionne acknowledged that the 300,000 units sales target he had set for 2010 is unreachable.” Ya think?

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  • Johnster Johnster on Oct 26, 2008
    LDMAN1 : Mini is a premium brand and there are margins to play with. Fiat is not a premium brand. The Mini was not a premium brand when it was a model sold by Austin and Morris and when it left the U.S. after the 1967 model year. It was gone for 36 years and when reintroduced in 2003 lots of Mini buyers had no memory of the original and it was able to be repositioned. Fiat left the U.S. market after the 1983 model year and has only been gone for 25 years, but there are still many young buyers who have no memory of past Fiats. If the 500 proves to be reasonably reliable (comparable to the Mini) and if Fiat sets up a decent sales network, parts distribution, and customer service experience there's nothing to prevent Fiat from repositioning themselves in the U.S. market as the manufacturer of premium-branded smart, chic, stylish transportation.

  • Chuckgoolsbee Chuckgoolsbee on Oct 26, 2008

    Damn. I really wanted a Spyder JTDM. --chuck

  • FreedMike That wagon is yummy.
  • Syke Thanks, somehow I missed that.
  • 285exp I am quite sure that it is a complete coincidence that they have announced a $7k price increase the same week that the current administration has passed legislation extending the $7k tax credit that was set to expire. Yep, not at all related.
  • Syke Is it possible to switch the pure EV drive on and off? Given the wonderful throttle response of an EV, I could see the desirability of this for a serious off-roader. Run straight ICE to get to your off-roading site, switch over the EV drive during the off-road section, then back to ICE for the road trip back home.
  • ToolGuy Historical Perspective Moment:• First-gen Bronco debuted in MY1966• OJ Simpson Bronco chase was in 1994• 1966 to 1994 = 28 years• 1994 to now = 28 yearsFeel old yet?