Fiat 500 U.S. sales are well behind the 50,000-unit annual target

Article by Christian Andrei, on November 22, 2011

Chrysler Group is doing much better than the market this year. It has set a healthy path to profitability and has repaid its government loans. However, the subcompact Fiat 500 is well behind the 50,000-unit yearly target that had once been the goal of Sergio Marchionne, the Chrysler-Fiat chief. Since sales started in March, only 15,826 units were sold through October. In addition, 29 of Fiat's 130 U.S. stores did not sell even one last month.

Internal Chrysler Group documents acquired by Automotive News reveal that, according to present selling rates, Fiat had around a half-year supply of Fiat 500 convertibles and coupes on November 1. That is 13,730 vehicles, nearly as numerous as have been sold since March. In order to get things moving, Fiat started giving a $500 cash rebate this month.

However, the action comes too late to discourage production cutbacks. This month, due to sluggish demand, Chrysler lay off or reassigned 65 workers who construct the engine for the Fiat 500 in Dundee, Mich.

Various sources state that Chrysler may reassign Laura Soave, formerly a marketing executive with both Volkswagen and Ford, and became head of the Fiat brand in North America in March 2010. When asked last week whether Soave would still be the head of the brand in North America, Marchionne stated that she will be "for the time being."

The unveiling of the 500 was a major factor of Marchionne's plan to reintroduce the Fiat brand to North America and for Chrysler Group to feature a subcompact.

The Fiat 500 concept is inspired by the needs of its consumers. This time, Fiat introduces an all-inclusive vehicle package that would appeal to any type of buyer. Perhaps the concept of coming up with such a product is inevitable most especially in the highly competitive car industry. This has also brought Fiat to incorporate all the new technologies for better convenience and practicality. Let’s read on and find out.

Aside from the iPod and battery charger sockets, a new Magnetti Marelli equipped with in-dash navigation system will also greet the owners of the new model. If that’s not enough, Fiat 500 also features the second generation Blue&Me as well as the latest Plug-in technologies at the passenger compartment.

What’s more, Fiat also developed a special payment system for its consumers. The company coined the “500 Cents” and “50 to 500” formulas for an easier mode of payment strategy. Fiat Group Financial Services came up with this to offer buyers a choice between the 2-years-to-pay with 50% down payment and the 5-a-day payment scheme with no deposit.

The payment loans also come with a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty. The 5-year warranty also covers the first 500,000km (or whichever comes first). Customers can take advantage of its 24/7 roadside service along with other new offers. For instance, if the schedule for periodic maintenance is already due, Fiat can pick up the car from the given address. Otherwise, the owners can ask the company to be reimbursed for their transportation expenses.

These are just some of the many possibilities and offers in store for everyone who wishes to have the new Fiat 500. After all, the company prides itself as “the car of the people, made by people, for the people”. It’s about time to give them what they all deserve.

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