Fiat Dealers Crying Out For More Product

fiat dealers crying out for more product

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.

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  • DeadWeight DeadWeight on May 14, 2013

    The 500 is a VERY effeminate car, and that doesn't change much even when it's dressed up as the Abarth. I try, and for the most part succeed, not to be superficial or give a rat's ass what other people think about what I drive, wear and generally do and do NOT spend my money on (I am willing to spend money, but I do so very much in a selective, almost minimalistic, quality over quantity manner), but be that as it may, I don't think I could feel comfortable driving this vehicle around because it oozes femininity in such copious amounts. It's as cute as a button, and I think it would make the perfect car for a Hello Kitty special edition.

    • See 3 previous
    • DeadWeight DeadWeight on May 14, 2013

      I'm not saying I judge other males as being effeminate because they drive a Fiat 500. I am admitting that I would feel that way despite my best efforts to disregard the need to project any particular image, for whatever reason (and I am quite confident in my straight as an arrow sexual orientation, not that there's anything wrong with others with opposite orientations...). Let's all be completely honest about this matter. Can anyone who took even mild offense at my comment deny that there's not a single vehicle that you wouldn't feel comfortable driving for similarly and admittedly shallow reasons?

  • Dan Dan on May 14, 2013

    Just when I thought these things couldn't get any gayer, a Fiat store is called a studio now? lol srsly?

    • See 1 previous
    • GeneralMalaise GeneralMalaise on May 14, 2013

      Have no fear, Dan. They won't discriminate against you or any others with a lisp. I'm cereal.

  • SoCalMikester SoCalMikester on May 14, 2013

    I wonder how many of the 500s are leased vs purchased. seems like a decent way to get a "fashion fix" and not have to worry about problems past the warranty period

  • Checker Checker on May 15, 2013

    Maybe we'll see the Fiat Viaggio (Dodge Dart rebadge) and the Freemont (a Dodge Journey variant) in the US soon!

    • Lorenzo Lorenzo on May 17, 2013

      I thought those were rebadges to cover a missing niche in Europe. I doubt they'll be sold here. It looks like all Fiat dealers will get is multiple versions of the 500L. I wonder if they'll do a pickup version: El CinqueRancherCenterino?