Because Chrysler Group LLC took longer to open new stores than what had been planned, it isn’t likely to achieve its goal to sell 50,000 of the new Fiat 500 in North America this year.
In an interview, Laura Soave, head of the Fiat brand under Chrysler, said that the automaker is building on its marketing campaign for the 500. In fact, there’s a planned promotion that will take place in Times Square in New York. In the United States, about 100 Fiat stores have opened, 30 of which opened in July. Chrysler intends to reach 130 by the end of 2011.
Soave said that Chrysler believes that it’s now time to “turn this up," since the automaker now has more coverage. Soave explained that while the guerrilla- type marketing is ongoing, it’s the bigger events that raise awareness. Soave said last Thursday that the additional outlets and the marketing push are expected to raise Fiat 500 U.S. sales by at least 30% in August over July.
Chrysler sold 3,038 units of the 500 in the U.S. last month, which adds up to total sales of 7,982 for the year so far.
In Canada, another 3,064 Fiats were sold from the start of this year through July. Chrysler is credited for the reintroduction of the Fiat brand in the U.S. after having been absent for nearly 30 years.
Last March, Chrysler started to sell the 500, with its clam-shaped hood that is inspired by the model's original design. The 500 has a starting price of $15,500 against Daimler AG's Smart and BMW AG's Mini small cars.
In early July, Fiat started a national 500 marketing campaign with advertising that includes TV on the Internet and as well as in movie theaters. The TV ads that came out earlier this month feature a young couple going to a drive-in movie in a Fiat 500.