Fiat's U.S. Decline Continues Apace, but Somebody Please Put the Brand on Canadian Milk Cartons
If the Fiat brand was a human being, it was last spotted in the parking lot of a local bank. Police are now scouring the woods.
Launched with adequate, if not great, fanfare as a newly Italianized Chrysler powered out of the recession, the Fiat brand failed to put down roots in the American marketplace, with the automaker’s next five-year plan showing it as an afterthought with an uncertain future. Sure, Italy gets a wagon version of the little 500 and greener power options, but in North America, the brand went over with buyers like Catwoman or Heaven’s Gate did with movie audiences. Dealers aren’t exactly thrilled with having the Fiat name anywhere their Jeep or Ram banner.
As bad as the brand’s continued non-performance in America is, buyers north of the border have already moved on.
There’s been worse months for the Fiat brand in Canada. Two of them, in fact, and all in the last year. But July’s tally of 49 vehicles sold is just another reminder that the brand’s days are numbered, even if FCA won’t say so.
Stateside, Fiat posted a 45 percent year-over-year decline last month, with its year-to-date volume down 44 percent. It’s like the brand gets halved each year. In Canada, the road to invisibility apparently has a higher speed limit. Despite high gas prices and taxes, buyers clearly had more appetizing choices at the small car buffet — sales sank 53 percent in July and a whopping 79 percent over the first seven months of 2018.
In the Great White North, sales of the 500 city car fell 22 percent, year over year, in July (from 27 to 21 vehicles), while the 500X declined 14 percent (from seven to six vehicles), and the 124 Spider dropped 71 percent (69 vehicles to 20). Only the odd-looking 500L posted a monthly sales gain (100 percent!), as July’s two vehicles sold doubled last July’s single sale.
More people bought an Alfa Romeo Stelvio in Canada last month that took home a Fiat-badged car. The same can almost be said of U.S. buyers, too — the entire Fiat brand’s July sales tally, 1,240 vehicles, was just 100 units more than the Stelvio’s volume.
We’d show you a pie chart of how the Fiat brand fits into FCA’s volume, but there’s no nano-knife sharp enough to carve off a slice that thin. A little more than seven-tenths of one percent of FCA’s July volume (0.725 percent) was Fiat’s doing, which is pretty much the same share as its YTD volume (0.74 percent). In Canada, Fiat made up 0.28 percent of all FCA vehicles sold in 2018.
Excuse me, sir. Have you seen this brand?
[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]
Vehic1 on Aug 06, 2018
FCA never did much with the Fiat brand here - just the 500 + its variants, plus one sports car. Too married to the 500, zero modern-styled sedans/SUVs - and, fairly or not, the stigma of its '70s reliability issues. Mini is struggling too (not quite so much, since it has a more-positive BMW connection); I don't know if BMW wants it to ever become a more full-line brand, or remain a retro niche one.
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