The Italian brand has not had a great time after its return on US soil and now forecasts a delivery revival once the dealers have been fully stocked on the new 500X crossover.
Fiat hopes the negative sales trend registered so far would be mitigated during the second half of the year once the customers get a taste of the brand’s latest vehicle – a crossover that fits the pattern of consumers going for SUVs, link trucks and crossovers. Fiat reintroduced its brand in the US five years ago on the strength of the 500 minicar but half a decade later it’s struggling to entice American consumers even as the overall market has been delivering new heights on a monthly basis.
The key issues with the stylish Italian offerings were that consumers have been lured away from small vehicles to crossovers, malady SUVs and trucks by the low gasoline prices. Then, the brand also had on offer just three models – all of them passenger cars – the 500 minicar, the not so easy to find 500e all-electric version and the not so loved, polarizing 500L – a “mini” minivan. Thus, the brand’s yearly deliveries reached a top level of 44,000 units each year for the past three and receded 13 percent after the first seven months of the year to 25,033 vehicles.
Analysts say the problem is chronic for every brand that has cars in the lower segments – and issues have plagued even larger models such as the Ford Focus or Chevrolet Sonic. Now Fiat is putting its hopes on the sales of the 500X – a small crossover designed in Italy and with American customers in mind.