As the Fiat-Chrysler alliance marks its second year, financial markets can’t help but praise the strategies that CEO Sergio Marchionne has been implementing. However, Fiat dealers are not as impressed and hope to soon be able to offer improved products in a quick fashion.
While the financial markets determine the success of the Fiat-Chrysler alliance in the short term, the customers and dealers determine if the partnership prospers in the long run.
Fiat-Chrysler's showrooms in Europe certainly offer many international choices for the potential customer. In continental Europe, 580 Lancia-Jeep dealerships (about two-thirds from Lancia's existing network and a third from the previous Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep organization) opened on June 1.
Meanwhile, 46 dealerships in the UK and Ireland stayed with the old Chrysler-Jeep badge. In these showrooms, Lancia's Poland-built new Ypsilon subcompact is displayed alongside Delta compact hatchback from Italy.
In the autumn, two models assembled in Canada will arrive: the Lancia Thema large sedan (a rebadged Chrysler 300) and the Grand Voyager minivan. Next spring, the dealerships will receive the Chrysler 200 cabriolet rebadged as the Lancia Flavia (built in the U.S.). The Fiat Freemont, a rebadged Dodge Journey crossover, is being produced in Mexico.
The Freemont has a starting price that’s lower than 25,000 euros in Italy. It actually is priced 5,500 euros lower than the slow-selling Fiat Ulysse that it’s replacing.
While Chrysler offers a set of large sedans, crossovers and minivans that Fiat dealers didn’t have before, there are concerns that Fiat is beginning to overlook the stylish small cars that had made it famous.