Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A., with the launch of four new vehicles, seeks to recover lost market share in Europe and stop a sales decline starting in the second half of 2011.
For a start, Fiat will introduce the third-generation Lancia Ypsilon subcompact and the Fiat Freemont, a rebadged Dodge Journey large SUV. These models will both start selling in June 2011.
The European versions of the new Chrysler 300 large sedan and a revamped Voyager large minivan will go on sale bearing the Lancia badge in most of Europe starting in the third quarter of 2011.
Fiat will distribute the two vehicles but will sell them as Chryslers in the United Kingdom and Ireland, where the Lancia brand is not sold. All four vehicles will be launched in March 2011 at the Geneva auto show. Analysts say the arrival of the new vehicles, however, will not end Fiat's financial losses in Europe.
Stuart Pearson, a London-based auto analyst at Morgan Stanley said that Fiat's new product arriving from late 2011 should stop share losses and European demand should recover from the second half as the hangover of scrappage programs eases, particularly in Italy.
Fiat was one of the carmakers that benefited the most from the scrapping schemes introduced in Europe's largest markets in 2009 to increase sales in the middle of the global financial crisis. However, the company saw its sales tumble in 2010 as the government-sponsored discounts ended.