Fiat will focus on U.S. and Brazil to counterbalance the weak European market

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 21, 2011

Chrysler and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne stated that the group would concentrate on building up its Brazil and U.S. operations to combat a feeble market in Europe as well as the poorest Italian sales in 20 years. With Brazil and the U.S. now the largest contributing markets to the combined group's profit, the CEO stuck to his goals for 2011 and 2012 regardless of the gloomy outlook for Europe.

Fiat has been managing Chrysler since a 2009 bailout agreement with the U.S. government. It owns 53.5 percent in the U.S. automaker. This figure may reach 58.5 percent by the end of the year.

Fiat, which combined Chrysler in its results starting last June, is focusing on combined sales of approximately 85 billion euros in the next year. Third-quarter results are due on October 28. Marchionne informed reporters on Wednesday that 2012 "will not be a great year" for the market in Europe, and that they need to work on fortifying their position in the United States and Latin America.

Data published on Tuesday by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association revealed that Fiat sales in Europe decreased 12 percent during the January-September period this year to 749,417 units. Its share of the market dropped to 7.2 percent from 8.1 percent in the same period last year.

On the other hand, Volkswagen's sales increased by 8.1 percent to 2.4 million. Fiat's stocks have lost almost 30 percent of their worth since the start of the year.

Marchionne stated that the weak performance of Fiat in Europe was primarily due to the weakness of the Italian market which "is reaching levels not seen in the past 20 years." He further stated that Italy has lost 700,000 vehicles since 2008, adding that for Fiat, this means a loss of 210,000 units. He also commented that, there is "no point in looking for new models."

As an inclusive offering, the Fiat 500 is designed and developed to cater to the tastes and preferences of its potential customers. This product is conceptualized to have the capability to adapt to the needs of individual customers. This philosophy is well conveyed through the presence of electronic technologies incorporated into the passenger compartment.

For instance, customers could avail of the second generation Blue&Me. They could also seamlessly integrate an iPod with the socket and the battery charger. In addition, the Fiat 500 features a new portable navigator -- developed in collaboration with Magneti Marelli -- fitted on the dashboard and is linked to other vehicle functions. Of course, this concept of customization is not exclusive to the Fiat 500, as it is also present in the service and payment sectors. For instance, the '500 Cents' and '50to500' formulas of Fiat Group Automobiles Financial Services could be used to purchase any version of the Fiat 500 -- including customization – for a minimal amount without making any down payment.

Customers may also opt to pay half of the sum immediately and complete the rest after two years. These loans qualify customers to a five-year/500,000 km manufacturer's warranty and other services, including a complete 24-hour roadside service. Moreover, Fiat will pick up the car from the customer’s home for periodic maintenance, and the company will reimburse any mobility expense incurred, including taxi fares. These offers and possibilities are what further define the Fiat 500 as the car for everyone.

Topics: fiat, brazil

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