Fiat Brand Strategy - A Growing Family

The Tipo has closed a prominent gap in the Fiat range

Was a car family Fiat always. As the most powerful company in Italy, the giant adopted almost all companies that build vehicles in southern Europe. Ferrari, of course, but also Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Abarth or Autobianchi. When the great crisis came, the giant faltered, familiar brands like Lancia were buried. "Now we are a family again," says Germany boss Giorgio Gorelli, "one that fits well and complements each other perfectly."

The secret to the success of the now international group, which just three years ago completely absorbed the previously insolvent US group Chrysler? "Definitely an important element for us in Germany too," analyzes Giorgio Gorelli, referring above all to the cult brand Jeep, which the Italians, as it were, fell into the lap of the Chrysler deal. "We sold almost 15.000 Jeeps last year," he says. At the moment, however, customers of the US icon are showing a bit of reluctance and are probably also waiting for the new compact SUV Compass, which will only be available in Germany at the end of the year.

So it has to target the Fiat brand. "The start this year was splendid," says Gorelli happily, citing an increase of 25 percent. “Last year was the turning point with an increase of almost 10 percent. Thanks to the new Tipo, our Fiat model range is as complete as it has been in years. ”The Italian golf rival is currently the largest Fiat model and, together with the Panda small car and the three variants of the Retromobil 500, is responsible for the majority of sales. Doesn't that also reveal a weakness because Fiat is no longer represented in the middle class, which is so important for the corporate treasury? The boss vehemently disagrees: "No, after all, we have to see ourselves as a brand family that does not only consist of Fiat".

Gorelli thus brings the name Alfa-Romeo into play, the brand has been traveling more like a wallflower for years and is currently making a fresh start with the new sports sedan Giulia and the SUV Stelvio. "The response to the two models was overwhelming," he reports, predicting that Alfa will have a splendid future. “Of course we have to be patient, but the brand is now perceived again. Most of the interested parties come from other manufacturers, mostly from German premium manufacturers ”.

Is the SUV for Fiat done with the new Stevio from Alfa? "After all, we have the Panda Cross and the 500X," Gorelli evades, referring to the sales success of the small all-wheel drive models. The German FCA boss does not want to know anything about entering the medium-sized SUV class, which is available elsewhere. "With the Alfa Romeo Stelvio and the US models, we are perfectly positioned for the SUV, with Jeep we have the best all-wheel drive brand in the world." So there are currently no plans for a larger model of this type with the Fiat logo, but Gorelli manages to get a truism with a sly smile: "Never say never".

So not something new for the Fiat brand in the new year? "We are lucky to have two models with a long tradition in our range, with which we address the emotions of our customers," explains Giorgio Gorelli. "The Fiat 500 is celebrating its 60th birthday this year and the Fiat 124 Spider is the ideal car for spring". The two-seater roadster based on the Mazda MX 5 came too late for the open-air season last year and should now score points. "Above all, we will take care of our core business," says the Italian. By this he means above all the increase in customer satisfaction, the expansion of the lucrative business with fleet customers and the further improvement of the dealer network. "We have made great progress over the past few months, but we still have a lot of work to do." (Peter Maahn / SP-X)

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