Fiat’s European rebound seen difficult if riding just on 500 success image

Fiat SpA has been keen to secure its transition to the larger Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in the recent past, but as that hurdle is almost over, analysts and observer turn to the core brand’s difficulties.

The Italian automaker has many brands under its belt, but it seems the mass-market core brand has somehow been forgotten for years – for example, during the Paris Motor Show visitors have only one novelty at the Fiat stand – the rugged 500X. That’s while rivals have numerous new models and concepts on display.

“The 500 is getting older and older, the success of its variants has been limited and they lack a competitive offering at a time when Volkswagen, Peugeot and Renault continue to launch new cars,” said Sascha Gommel, an analyst at Commerzbank. “Even if the European recovery was gaining momentum, Fiat would definitely lose out.”

FCA has a five-year strategy that sees the carmaker concentrating on the higher-margin premium marquees Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Jeep – which sell well in the US, China and other emerging markets. But auto strategists see a pattern of neglect for the core Fiat brand, which still accounts for a big chunk of the total sales. Sales of the Fiat models reached 1.5 million units in 2013, which translates into 34% of FCA’s total.

Via Automotive News Europe