Is North America Ready to Welcome Back FIAT?

Posted: January 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

From 1984 to 2011, Italian automaker FIAT was absent from the United States and Canadian auto markets. After expanding its options to result in a 53.3% controlling share in the Chrysler Group, it made sense for the company to look to introduce its popular 500 model in these territories. By now you’ve probably seen the commercials for the 2008 European Car of the Year, but how many have you seen on the road? Is FIAT actually a brand that Americans and Canadians are ready for?

If you ask the company, the answer is no. For 2012, the company set their sights high, hoping to move 6,000 of the vehicles per month in the United States alone. FIAT stresses that this isn’t a problem with the quality of the vehicle, just overall awareness of their place in the market. As a result we’ve seen an influx of more airtime being taken up, first for the 500, but also for the more recent FIAT Abarth. Certainly those with a mind to the European car market are seeing nothing they haven’t seen before, but for many potential auto-buyers, this is the first time they’re really getting a look at these vehicles and considering taking them out for a test drive. Interested buyers should be doing their homework, making a trip to test drive the FIAT 500 at Holt FIAT of Ft Worth or other local dealerships depending on their geographic area.

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The vehicles look like sleek city cars, a blend of curves and boxes that scream sensible – not the kind of thing Americans tend to think of when they think about Italian cars. And the economy on both sides of the Atlantic makes this a time when people are sticking with brands they trust. So while FIAT is pushing their brand with a slew of celebrity endorsements and commercials during sports events, what people really want to know are the hard facts. If FIAT wants to sell more 500s, focus on the awards it’s received. Put the consumer reports out there, tell us the history of their company, and try and muscle in on the brand trust we’ve had pounded into us for a century from names like Ford and Chevrolet. Jennifer Lopez might be able to buy and sell cars on a whim. The rest of us need to make an investment that’ll last us through troubled economic times.

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