• Sign in to follow this  
    Followers 0

    Fiat Dealers Are Feeling The Strain


    William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    October 8, 2013

    Fiat dealers have been feeling the strain since the brand started selling vehicles in 2011 and it appears that it is only going to get worse. Automotive News reports that only 45 percent of the 2010 Fiat dealers in the U.S. are making a profit. Moreover, the majority of those dealers happen to be tied in with other Chrysler dealerships. This means other dealers are losing their shirts if they don't have any other storefronts.

    "I think most dealers have been disappointed in the performance of their Fiat dealerships," said Alan Haig, president of automotive services for Presidio Group.

    Making the matters even worse is the large 24 percent decline in sales Fiat saw in September sales. This means sales so far for the year stand around 33,000 units, the same number as last year. Most of decline can be attributed to 500. As for the 500L, it still is too early to tell as it went on sale back in the summer.

    "It's sad to say, but it's become a stepchild. Chrysler doesn't want to hear that, but that's the reality," said an unnamed Chrysler dealer.

    Many Fiat dealers were counting on Alfa Romeo to help bring more people in. But a recent report says that the Alfa Romeo 4C will will instead be sold in Maserati stores. Add in the fair number of delays for other Alfa Romeo models, and many dealers are left wondering if they'll ever see the brand.

    Now Fiat has said there is a new model that will help dealers "take the next step", but that will not happen till 2015.

    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

    0


    Sign in to follow this  
    Followers 0


    User Feedback


    Agree'd :yes:

    Worse yet, these stand alone dealerships must have not looked at the terrible history this company has had in the US. Hate to say it but Italy is one of the laziest counteries around. I know some will take me to task for this comment, but Fiat left america as a terrible company with terrible service, terrible quality, in essence JUNK Auto's. The dealership here in Seattle has over 200 Fiats in stock and you rarely see them on the road. Lucky they are tied into a Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, Jeep dealership. Otherwise I suspect they would have filed bankruptcy and closed already.

    Funnier yet is after building this fancy show room and having all these Fiats out in front from last year to this summer, they now have put all the Fiats in the back and parks the other family rides in front where they actually make money.

    If the story is true and they are going to sell the Alfa Romeo via the Maserati stores, you might as well just put a stick in many of these stand alone Fiat dealers as they will not survive to 2015.

    Interesting is looking at the dealership reviews and yelp, FIAT is not winning any fans or quality. Here was one of the nicer reviews I read this morning.

    QUOTE

    My Review Of FIAT of Kirkland:

    The internet sales manager, Don, was the only person at this dealership who cared about my experience. I paid $5k over MSRP for an Abarth, had the finance guy put GAP coverage on the sale I told him I did NOT want (who would pay $800 for something they can get for $20/year from their insurance), and it took 2 weeks and 7 calls (the last to Don) to get a return call from the service department in order to get the sideskirts fixed (which were coming off the brand new car).

    When I returned to have the GAP coverage removed and refunded and also cancel my extended warranty the finance manager, Larry, was downright rude. When I emailed in scans of the paperwork asking for confirmation of receipt, I still (1 week later) have not received any confirmation. This dealership does not care about you, they just want to take your money and treat you like dirt afterwards. AVOID THIS DEALERSHIP LIKE THE PLAGUE.

    My experience has been so poor, I am trading in my 3 month old Abarth at a loss and purchasing another car so I don't have to deal with this dealership ever again. I have not even put 3000 miles on the Abarth. This has been the WORST dealer experience I have ever had.

    This person rated them 1.8 out of 5 stars. Fiat will not last with service like this. Seems they still have not learned how to build quality or sell quality and service. Sad state of the Chrysler/Fiat delerships but this is also my own experiance as to why I now stay away from them. :nono:

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    It's perplexing how someone thought that selling Fiats in the this country was a good idea, and then to have the initial lone model be a mini-clown car. I think someone had Mini-envy. I also don't think that anybody's breaking down doors to buy an Alfa either.

    1

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    What person in their right mind would have opened a stand alone Fiat dealer just to sell one model!?

    this whole topic reminds of the misery i encountered selling suzuki.......

    here is the thing. to build a car brand, you need to sell some mainstream market models. then the other thing, you need to promote your brand like you will be there forever and that you are a player and are professional and that you have the customer's back. You need to be available with lots of dealers and convey the notion that you will not be selling them something that you won't be around to back up, even in 10 years.

    the dealerships that sell them need to be as sleek and inviting as the major brands, and have customer service and sales process that is to the same standard as such.

    As even Mazda is finding out, to survive, its not just the mechanical excellence, you have to provide meat and potatoes in the major segments to compete. 10 miatas in the showroom won't do it. A mazda3 (compact car) , mazda6 (midsize family car), cx5 (smaller crossover), cx9 (larger crossover) are sort of the major segments and if you want to survive and be taken as not a niche, you have to sell in those segments. Those segments have staying power and will be the basis for your selling operation for years.

    1

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    What person in their right mind would have opened a stand alone Fiat dealer just to sell one model!?

    Those that thought the fiat was the next Mini? Weren't a lot of mini dealers stand-alones?

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Never seen a mini stand alone dealership, they all seem to be in the same place as a BMW dealership. Same thing I noticed about the SmartCar dealerships are all next door to an MB dealership or at least they are here in the Pacific NW.

    0

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites


    Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

    Guest
    You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
    Add a comment...

    ×   You have pasted content with formatting.   Remove formatting

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor




  • Popular Stories

  • Today's Birthdays

    1. aaaantoine
      aaaantoine
      (34 years old)
  • Similar Content

    • By William Maley
      The last time I drove a Fiat 500C Abarth, it with six-speed automatic. I found it to be quite a cheeky vehicle with an exhaust note that makes you think you’re driving something a bit more powerful and a look that helped it stand out. But I couldn’t help but wonder how the Abarth is with the manual transmission. About a couple of months ago, I slipped behind the wheel of another 500C Abarth, this time with the manual. The end result was a bit of a letdown.
      The manual transmission in question is a five-speed and it isn’t any fun to use. The throw is somewhat long and imprecise. A few times, I found myself going into the wrong gear because I couldn’t tell where I was in the gear pattern. Not helping matters is the clutch which not only has a long travel, but it isn’t easy to find the takeoff point. This is one of those vehicles where the automatic makes more sense. The turbocharged 1.4L four-cylinder produces 160 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. The engine is quite the performer with power coming on strong at low rpm. Engage the Sport mode and the engine becomes more spritely. Some reviews criticize the 500 Abarth’s suspension for being a bit too soft for a performance model. I really don’t see that as I think the Abarth strikes a good balance between handling and ride comfort. Yes, the Abarth will show a little bit more body roll in the corners. But it doesn’t detract from the quick direction change the vehicle is able to pull off thanks to its short wheelbase. The ride is slightly bouncy over bumps, but it isn’t to the point of annoyance. One area that the Abarth could use some improvement is in the steering. A little bit more road feel and weight would not be a bad thing for a performance hatch. If you happen to be a shrinking violet, then pass on getting the yellow paint like on my tester. The level of ‘LOOK AT ME’ is turned up to 11. Fiat will say the 500C is a convertible, but it is more of a targa - the roof rails and pillars stay up, and the canvas roof folds. But I do like that you can open or close it at speed. Visibility must have a different meaning in Italian than English since the view from the rear is almost nonexistent with the top up or down. The interior hasn’t changed much which is both good and bad. The good is the retro styling that adds a bit of charm. The bad are how the front seats feel like you're sitting on a stool. If there was a height adjustment for the seats or a telescoping adjustment for the steering wheel, this would ok. But since there isn’t, you’ll find yourself in a somewhat awkward seating position. As for pricing, the 500C Abarth with the manual begins at $26,695. With options, the as-tested price came to $31,695. The automatic if you wondering adds $1,350 to the price. But there is some good news over the horizon. Fiat will be cutting prices on a number of their models for 2017, with the biggest ones coming to the 500C. It might be worth waiting for the 2017 model since a lower price could make it slightly easier to convince yourself that you can live with something that is quite small, but packs a lot of character. But be sure to go with the automatic.  
      Disclaimer: Fiat Provided the 500C Abarth, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2016
      Make: Fiat
      Model: 500C
      Trim: Abarth
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.4L 16-Valve MultiAir Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Five-Speed Manual, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 160 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 170 @ 2,500-4,000 
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 28/34/30
      Curb Weight: 2,545 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Toluca, Mexico
      Base Price: $26,695
      As Tested Price: $31,965 (Includes $995 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      17-inch Forged Aluminum Hyper Black Wheels - $1,400.00
      Popular Equipment Package - $975.00
      Beats Audio Package - $700.00
      Giallo Moderna Perla (Modern Pearl Yellow) - $500.00
      Nero (Black) Mirror Cap with Body Side Stripe - $450.00
      Nero (Black) Trimmed Lights - $250.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      The last time I drove a Fiat 500C Abarth, it with six-speed automatic. I found it to be quite a cheeky vehicle with an exhaust note that makes you think you’re driving something a bit more powerful and a look that helped it stand out. But I couldn’t help but wonder how the Abarth is with the manual transmission. About a couple of months ago, I slipped behind the wheel of another 500C Abarth, this time with the manual. The end result was a bit of a letdown.
      The manual transmission in question is a five-speed and it isn’t any fun to use. The throw is somewhat long and imprecise. A few times, I found myself going into the wrong gear because I couldn’t tell where I was in the gear pattern. Not helping matters is the clutch which not only has a long travel, but it isn’t easy to find the takeoff point. This is one of those vehicles where the automatic makes more sense. The turbocharged 1.4L four-cylinder produces 160 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. The engine is quite the performer with power coming on strong at low rpm. Engage the Sport mode and the engine becomes more spritely. Some reviews criticize the 500 Abarth’s suspension for being a bit too soft for a performance model. I really don’t see that as I think the Abarth strikes a good balance between handling and ride comfort. Yes, the Abarth will show a little bit more body roll in the corners. But it doesn’t detract from the quick direction change the vehicle is able to pull off thanks to its short wheelbase. The ride is slightly bouncy over bumps, but it isn’t to the point of annoyance. One area that the Abarth could use some improvement is in the steering. A little bit more road feel and weight would not be a bad thing for a performance hatch. If you happen to be a shrinking violet, then pass on getting the yellow paint like on my tester. The level of ‘LOOK AT ME’ is turned up to 11. Fiat will say the 500C is a convertible, but it is more of a targa - the roof rails and pillars stay up, and the canvas roof folds. But I do like that you can open or close it at speed. Visibility must have a different meaning in Italian than English since the view from the rear is almost nonexistent with the top up or down. The interior hasn’t changed much which is both good and bad. The good is the retro styling that adds a bit of charm. The bad are how the front seats feel like you're sitting on a stool. If there was a height adjustment for the seats or a telescoping adjustment for the steering wheel, this would ok. But since there isn’t, you’ll find yourself in a somewhat awkward seating position. As for pricing, the 500C Abarth with the manual begins at $26,695. With options, the as-tested price came to $31,695. The automatic if you wondering adds $1,350 to the price. But there is some good news over the horizon. Fiat will be cutting prices on a number of their models for 2017, with the biggest ones coming to the 500C. It might be worth waiting for the 2017 model since a lower price could make it slightly easier to convince yourself that you can live with something that is quite small, but packs a lot of character. But be sure to go with the automatic.  
      Disclaimer: Fiat Provided the 500C Abarth, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2016
      Make: Fiat
      Model: 500C
      Trim: Abarth
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.4L 16-Valve MultiAir Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Five-Speed Manual, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 160 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 170 @ 2,500-4,000 
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 28/34/30
      Curb Weight: 2,545 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Toluca, Mexico
      Base Price: $26,695
      As Tested Price: $31,965 (Includes $995 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      17-inch Forged Aluminum Hyper Black Wheels - $1,400.00
      Popular Equipment Package - $975.00
      Beats Audio Package - $700.00
      Giallo Moderna Perla (Modern Pearl Yellow) - $500.00
      Nero (Black) Mirror Cap with Body Side Stripe - $450.00
      Nero (Black) Trimmed Lights - $250.00
    • By William Maley
      FCA US Reports November 2016 U.S. Sales
      Ram Truck brand sales up 12 percent compared with same month a year ago; Ram pickup truck sales up 8 percent All-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan sales up 13 percent compared with previous month of October Jeep® Renegade sales up 30 percent; all-new 2017 Jeep Compass makes its U.S. debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show December 1, 2016 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - FCA US LLC today reported U.S. sales of 160,827 units, a 14 percent decrease compared with sales in November 2015 (187,731 units).
      FCA US retail sales of 126,780 units were down 2 percent year over year in November, representing 79 percent of total sales for the month. Fleet sales of 34,047 units were down 42 percent year over year in November as FCA US continues to reduce its sales to the daily rental segment. Fleet sales represented 21 percent of total FCA US sales in the month.
       
      Ram Truck brand sales were up 12 percent in November versus the same month in 2015. Ram ProMaster van sales increased 126 percent in November, while Ram pickup truck sales increased 8 percent. The Jeep® Renegade small SUV had a strong November with a 30 percent sales gain, while sales of the Fiat 500 were up 18 percent compared with the same month a year ago.
       
      Sales of the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica – launched earlier this year – were up 13 percent in November compared with sales in the previous month of October. November sales represented the minivan’s second best sales month this year.
       
      Ram Truck brand sales are up 11 percent calendar year to date through November compared with the same 11-month period in 2015. Jeep brand sales are up 8 percent calendar year to date as well.
       
      Ram Truck Brand
      Ram Truck brand sales, which include the Ram pickup, Ram ProMaster and Ram ProMaster City, increased 12 percent in November versus the same month in 2015. With its 126 percent sales gain, the Ram ProMaster van turned in the largest year-over-year percentage increase of any FCA US vehicle in November. Sales of the Ram pickup truck increased 8 percent in November. The Ram 1500 earned Best Buy awards last month from Consumers Digest and Consumer Guide Automotive. Also last month, the Green Car Journal named the Ram ProMaster City its 2017 Commercial Green Car of the Year for the second consecutive year – the first time a vehicle has won one of the magazine’s titles consecutively. Ram Truck brand sales are up 11 percent calendar year to date compared with the same 11 months in 2015.
      Jeep Brand
      Jeep brand sales were down 12 percent compared with the same month a year ago. The Jeep Renegade turned in a strong 30 percent increase in November compared with the same month in 2015. The Renegade earned Best Buy awards last month from Consumers Digest and Consumer Guide Automotive in the subcompact SUV segment. In addition, the Jeep Grand Cherokee earned a Consumers Digest Best Buy for the seventh consecutive year in the mid-size SUV category. Jeep brand sales are up 8 percent calendar year to date compared with the first 11 months of 2015.
       
      The all-new 2017 Jeep Compass made its U.S. debut last month at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The global compact SUV delivers unsurpassed 4x4 capability, world-class on-road driving dynamics, advanced fuel-efficient powertrains and premium styling. The Compass will be manufactured in Brazil, China, Mexico and India, for consumers in more than 100 countries around the world.
       
      FIAT Brand
      FIAT brand sales, which include the Fiat 500, Fiat 500L, Fiat 500X and Fiat 124 Spider, were down 15 percent in November. However, sales of the Fiat 500 were up 18 percent year-over-year in November. In its fifth month in the market, the all-new 124 Spider recorded sales of 350 units. The 124 Spider earned a 2017 Best Buy last month in the sporty performance car segment from the automotive editors at Consumer Guide Automotive, who noted that the 124 Spider “represents an impressive amount of fun for the money.” The 124 Spider also took home the award for Best-Looking New Car from readers of The Car Connection in November.
      Dodge Brand
      Dodge brand sales were down 21 percent in November compared with the same month in 2015. However, Dodge Charger sales increased 34 percent compared with the same month a year ago. Dodge Viper sales were up as well. The Dodge Durango earned a Best Buy last month from Consumer Guide Automotive in the large SUV category – for the fifth consecutive year. In addition, for the third time in three years, the Charger has earned the Residual Value Award in the full-size category from ALG, the industry benchmark for residual values and depreciation data. Also, the Charger and Durango were “most loved” in their respective segments for the third consecutive year making Strategic Vision’s “Most Loved Vehicles in America” list, while the Dodge Challenger earned a spot on the list in the specialty coupe category.
       
      Chrysler Brand
      Chrysler brand sales were down 47 percent in November compared with the same month a year ago. However, the all-new Chrysler Pacifica posted sales of 8,753 units in November, a 13 percent sales gain versus the previous month of October. The 2017 Pacifica minivan – launched in April – earned Best Buy awards from Consumer Guide Automotive, Consumers Digest and Kelley Blue Book last month. In the Consumer Guide Automotive competition, the Pacifica captured both the Minivan and Family Vehicle Best Buy awards. In addition, the Pacifica earned “Best Car to Buy” and “Best Family Vehicle to Buy” designations from The Car Connection. The Chrysler 300 full-size sedan grabbed an award last month as well, earning its fifth Best Buy award in the luxury car segment from Consumers Digest.
      FCA US LLC Sales Summary November 2016
      Reflects New Methodology
                      Month Sales
      Vol %
      CYTD Sales
      Vol %
      Model
      Curr Yr
      Pr Yr
      Change
      Curr Yr
      Pr Yr
      Change
      Compass
      6,984
      9,209
      -24%
      86,107
      64,188
      34%
      Patriot
      8,568
      9,933
      -14%
      114,117
      108,968
      5%
      Wrangler
      12,957
      13,948
      -7%
      176,053
      186,835
      -6%
      Cherokee
      11,479
      18,218
      -37%
      183,356
      196,092
      -6%
      Grand Cherokee
      17,230
      17,662
      -2%
      189,023
      175,746
      8%
      Renegade
      10,067
      7,719
      30%
      94,561
      52,211
      81%
      JEEP BRAND
      67,285
      76,689
      -12%
      843,217
      784,040
      8%
      200
      2,849
      10,103
      -72%
      54,651
      157,705
      -65%
      300
      2,566
      4,635
      -45%
      49,657
      48,756
      2%
      Town & Country
      350
      12,537
      -97%
      58,805
      86,908
      -32%
      Pacifica
      8,753
      0
      New
      52,083
      0
      New
      CHRYSLER BRAND
      14,518
      27,275
      -47%
      215,196
      293,369
      -27%
      Dart
      2,203
      7,201
      -69%
      41,877
      82,041
      -49%
      Avenger
      1
      15
      -93%
      45
      1,294
      -97%
      Charger
      9,138
      6,804
      34%
      88,200
      88,323
      0%
      Challenger
      3,908
      4,297
      -9%
      59,176
      61,813
      -4%
      Viper
      62
      45
      38%
      571
      627
      -9%
      Journey
      7,133
      8,023
      -11%
      96,991
      100,256
      -3%
      Caravan
      6,696
      10,926
      -39%
      120,991
      89,833
      35%
      Durango
      4,934
      5,644
      -13%
      62,678
      56,897
      10%
      DODGE  BRAND
      34,075
      42,955
      -21%
      470,529
      481,084
      -2%
      Ram P/U
      36,885
      34,145
      8%
      441,862
      408,724
      8%
      Cargo Van
      0
      2
      -100%
      21
      2,157
      -99%
      ProMaster Van
      4,702
      2,084
      126%
      35,746
      23,658
      51%
      ProMaster City
      924
      1,721
      -46%
      14,625
      8,015
      82%
      RAM BRAND
      42,511
      37,952
      12%
      492,254
      442,554
      11%
      Giulia
      0
      0
      New
      7
      0
      New
      Alfa 4C 
      23
      34
      -32%
      457
      603
      -24%
      ALFA BRAND
      23
      34
      -32%
      464
      603
      -23%
      500
      1,147
      974
      18%
      14,026
      22,243
      -37%
      500L
      96
      231
      -58%
      3,016
      7,275
      -59%
      500X
      822
      1,621
      -49%
      10,869
      7,785
      40%
      Spider
      350
      0
      New
      2,225
      0
      New
      FIAT BRAND
      2,415
      2,826
      -15%
      30,136
      37,303
      -19%
      TOTAL FCA US LLC
      160,827
      187,731
      -14%
      2,051,796
      2,038,953
      1%
                        Total Car & MPV
      38,142
      57,802
      -34%
      545,787
      647,421
      -16%
          Total UV's
      80,174
      91,977
      -13%
      1,013,755
      948,978
      7%
          Total Truck & LCV
      42,511
      37,952
      12%
      492,254
      442,554
       
    • By William Maley
      Sales of Fiat vehicles in the U.S. have been tanking and FCA is making a drastic change to try and reverse this. Automotive News got their hands on documents revealing a new pricing structure that will see Fiat cut the prices on some of their models.
      The base 500 will see a price cut of $2,000 ($14,995 from $16,995). The price doesn't include a $995 destination charge. The big price cuts will come to the 500C lineup as there will now be a $1,495 difference between the cabrio and regular hardtop. A key example is the 500C Abarth which sees its price drop from $26,695 to $21,490 for 2017. Prices for the 124 Spider and 500X remain unchanged.
      A Fiat spokesman declined to comment.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
      Pic Credit: William Maley for Cheers and Gears

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Sales of Fiat vehicles in the U.S. have been tanking and FCA is making a drastic change to try and reverse this. Automotive News got their hands on documents revealing a new pricing structure that will see Fiat cut the prices on some of their models.
      The base 500 will see a price cut of $2,000 ($14,995 from $16,995). The price doesn't include a $995 destination charge. The big price cuts will come to the 500C lineup as there will now be a $1,495 difference between the cabrio and regular hardtop. A key example is the 500C Abarth which sees its price drop from $26,695 to $21,490 for 2017. Prices for the 124 Spider and 500X remain unchanged.
      A Fiat spokesman declined to comment.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
      Pic Credit: William Maley for Cheers and Gears
  • Recent Status Updates

  • Who's Online (See full list)