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Fiat could blame American consumer sentiment. They could also blame J.Lo’s advertising debacle. Or perhaps, the fault lies with the car. Whatever the case may be, sales numbers for the 2012 Fiat 500 are disappointing.
According to Automotive News, Fiat’s re-introduction into the United States reports will fall significantly short of its 50,000 unit sales target for 2011. Since the Fiat 500 hit American showrooms in March, it has only sold 15,826 units through October.
Of 150 Fiat dealers nationwide, 29 were unable to sell a single one last month. So, in order to give the car some life, Chrysler now offers a $500 rebate incentive as a means of shifting cars before the year ends. According to internal company documents, Chrysler has almost a half a year supply of 500 models in hand if the abysmal sales performance continues.
Due to the lagging demand, production has slowed, with 65 workers sent home from the Dundee, Michigan Fiat 500 engine assembly plant.
Fiat-Chrysler CEO, Sergio Marchionne, insists that the problem is rooted at the distribution network. Dealers are simply claiming that American buyers aren’t interested in such a small vehicle. We hope the sizzling 500 Abarth has got enough kick to turn the sales numbers around.
There was a time when Lexus was the top-selling luxury car brand in North America. In fact, it held onto that crown for nearly a decade.
However, after the unfavorable publicity relating to allegations of unintended acceleration and then a production shortage due to the tsunami in Japan, Lexus lost the top spot in sales for luxury cars.
For 2012, Lexus hopes to improve its sales figures, however the goal is not to be the biggest luxury brand anymore.
US Lexus Division Vice-President and General Manager Mark Templin said: “We never were about being the biggest – it just happened for all the right reasons.” He added that Lexus lost a lot of customers because they didn’t have anything to sell them, pointing at the shortage the brand dealt with due to the tsunami.
However, being the biggest is not their main concern said Templin, saying that Lexus would rather be number one at customer experience, quality, value and profitability.
With Lexus looking to introduce 10 new or refreshed models over the next few years, Templin says the brand will see a growth in sales due to their new models, however while some luxury brands are looking to get into A and B segment cars, Lexus will not be doing that to maintain its luxury brand image.
In the first 9-months of this year, Lexus sales in America are down 17%, having shifted 135,647 vehicles until the end of September.
Will 2012 prove to be a better year as predicted by Lexus’ senior management? Only time will tell.
[Source: Detroit News]