Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV is looking to ways of taking away the customers that have been estranged by the Volkswagen dieselgate scandal and is offering cash incentives of up to 1,500 euros ($1,700) in Italy.
Fiat Chrysler is offering the discounts together with other rebates if the prospective buyer trades in a car from any of VW AG’s brands, reads an internal memo published in Il Giornale daily and later on confirmed by dealers. Brand-swap discounts aren’t a first in the industry but this one clearly targets just one company – Volkswagen – as the latter tries to cope with the biggest crisis in its 78-year history. The German automaker acknowledged it had rigged diesel-powered vehicles to pass emissions testing in the US and the illegal software was actually installed in 11 million autos around the world. FCA’s move also continues a long and antagonistic relationship between the two automakers. Back in 2012 FCA’s chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne aid VW made a “bloodbath” in Europe with its pricing plans while other carmakers handled the continent-wide market drop. VW in turn announced it could leave the ACEA, the industry’s main lobby in the region, lead by Marchionne during that period.
FCA also sent a memo to its distributors last week – a copy has been seen by Bloomberg – to reassure them it “fully complies” with all regulatory standards and it vehicles have not been manufactured with “defeat devices” similar to the ones used by VW to cheat in the United States. Automotive News Europe also reported Ford was also targeting the Italian drivers of VW AG cars, delivering a 750-euro trade-in bonus across its model lineup.