Fiat 500 Sales Missing Targets, Chrysler Blaming Marketing Strategy

Fiat 500 Sales Missing Targets, Chrysler Blaming Marketing Strategy

Sales targets for the Fiat 500 were set at an ambitious 6,000 units per month, and surprise surprise, the car isn’t meeting them. This might be due to the fact that it’s a subcompact, foreign branded car in a market where gasoline is (relatively) cheap and large vehicles reign supreme. Or it could be the fault of your marketing agency, if you ask Chrysler.

Fiat marketing chief Oliver Francois told trade publication Advertising Age that the brand has an “awareness problem”, and apparently, a product placement in a Jennifer Lopez music video didn’t help matters. Fiat has also reportedly dumped their ad agency, which formerly employed Fiat North America CEO Laura Sove.

So far Fiat has sold 11,088 examples, far off the 72,000 unit annual target. The axe has to fall on someone, and we’ll be waiting to see who ends up taking responsibility for this matter.

[Source: Advertising Age]

  • Nick

    It breaks my heart to say this, but the car is just ugly. It’s not even cute, it’s just ugly!

  • Mac

    What a terrible article, the commercials JUST started for thia car and since it went on sale it has been averaging near 3,000 sales a month (this month will make it 5 months in total, we have sales results for 4) and thats with little advertising just wait till you see how many they sell this month

  • Teaser38

    I knew about this car back in June! I went to a dealership listed on the website. They had no cars for me to even test drive!

    How many larger subcompact 4 door sedans/hatchbacks you can buy for the $15,500 base price? ALL OF THEM and many of them have better fuel economy! Unless you get Prius level fuel economy, utterly pointless for a commuter car in the US with our wide roads.

  • Finch

    It’s definitely a dealership distribution issue. The requirements fiat set out for Chrysler dealerships to take on fiat cars were way to stringent.

  • Not an american

    The car is just great. You Americans have poor taste regarding to practically everything: McDonalds, Coca Cola, Big thirsty cars…
    It was simply a mistake to think that primitive americans could ever appreciate this little gem, called Fiat 500.

  • sjmst

    If you think the car is ugly, that’s fine. To each his own..though you would be in the minority. I would say 90% of people love it. But some things people take as facts are just wrong:
    1) The car is rock solid stable on the highway. How do I know? I commute 100 miles a day in my 500. It is also flawless; no defects or problems.
    2) There are NOT many $15,000 cars that offer the style and fun factor of this car.
    3) If MPG was all that mattered, we would all be driving a Prius.

    The only problems here are lack of opened dealers and silly marketing. Both should be fixed soon.

  • John

    As much as I’m really glad just to see another auto maker in the game in the USA, and I actually “had” a deposit on a Prima Edizione, I think the Fiat just needs to be priced cheaper, bottom line.

    The entry level Pop manual with alloys and a spare tire comes in at $16600, add an auto trans, you’re not that far away from $18K. The other odd thing is they are marketing the vehicle like its some type of sports car(which it is not)/fashion statement thing rather than a cheaper people’s car.

    If they went to the trouble of doing a remake of say the spider or even the 128, (I would love something that looked like a 128 or bmw2002),then I could see them selling for the $20K plus many of them are listed for at the dealers. I’m tired about hearing Americans love big thirsty cars, etc…it’s not that so much as people want value for their dollar. If the car was $12K there would be a waiting list for them, I’d buy one just to commute in a few days a week. Why would you buy one when you can buy a RAV4(4 cylinder engine btw) for the same money?, makes no sense.

    I’ll sure at least take a hard look at the Abarth, see how next year goes, again still nice see it here.

  • Franco

    This car looks funny and cutesy. I am Italian and I would not be caught dead in this thing. Even my wife thinks its ugly!

  • Steve

    I had my 500 Sport with manual transmission since mid August. The public reaction is almost universally positive. Thumbs up, many smiles and waves. The word used in description is always “cute”. The car has been nearly flawless. Driver side door hinge loosen a little but fixed with a few wrench turns. Average mileage 32 combined Chicago city and highway driving. 40 on highway at 60 – 65 mph. The car is not fast but surprisingly quick. I’m tall and quite comfortable in it. Bottom line is the car was a great buy.

  • Bob

    John is right.
    It’s a $20,000 car, not a $15k car and in that segment there are just too many better options.
    The us market didn’t get the super efficient engines that exist in Europe and Americans don’t have the same stigmas of looking at Korean alternatives (e.g Hyundai).

    As a result, the model offered stateside are expensive and yet not performance oriented or frugal enough.
    The car is good and people like the design but it’s hard to compete when a four door jetta or an elantra almost cost the same.

  • An American

    Nice way to generalize asshole

  • Another American

    I’ve seen them on TopGear on BBC America but was not even remotely aware they were being sold in the U.S. until I almost ran over one with my Explorer.

    As much as I like larger cars, I wouldn’t mind this for the daily grind and use the more powerful stuff for fun on the weekends.

  • Hages

    True, the ads are more about J-Lo than about the virtues of the car itself. I hope they have better commercials actually showing the coolness of this car, especially suited for Urbanites!

  • Michael

    The poor sales are the results of poor marketing, particularly at the dealer’s level. The dealers do not even stock brochures for the car, unlike Mini, Hyundai, Kia, Toyota and nearly all their competitors. The Fiat dealers simply said they are going “green” and refer people to the corporate website. How it is green when I have to print many pages from my own printer? Not to mention of the time wasted going from link to link in the various webpages. Besides, many people would want a brochure as part of the history records of their purchase. How it is green when a little thick 3 inch by 3 inch 50 page book is printed, but it has no information on interior choices or specifications. Even these are difficult to find. The simple fact is that manufacturers and dealers that shimp on printed sales materials are simply not doing as well, just look at poor sales at Maybach vs. Bentley or has-been Cadillac vs BMW.