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· Moderator
201 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·

As another calendar year draws to a close it's time to take a look back at the top 10 biggest stories of the year in the auto industry. It's been a busy 12 months, starting all the way back in March when the Fiat 500 officially went on sale, marking the return of the brand to America. The last time an Italian car was sold here that didn't cost six figures (or close to it) was 27 years ago. Since then, Fiat has introduced the 500C convertible model and most recently the Fiat 500 Abarth, aimed at enthusiasts.

The jury is still out on the Fiat brand's success in North America, although the first year has failed to live up to expectations, with Fiat predicting sales of 50,000 units, while according to automotive data firm GoodCarBadCar only 17,444 have been sold in the first 11 months of the year (add 5,000 more if you include Canada). Some of this may be the result of Fiat's marketing initiative with several ads featuring Jenifer Lopez, which the Fiat faithful rejected and many believe cost the brand boss Laura Souve her job. Getting the Fiat dealer network up and running also proved a challenge.

With more models coming, and Alfa Romeo set to return in 2013, Fiat is here to say. More importantly, perhaps, is the Fiat connection to Chrysler – a company it saved from bankruptcy and which it is now slowly rebuilding back into a profitable automaker.

More: Top 10 Automotive News Stories of 2011 on

· Premium Member
26 Posts
Fiat Cinquicento Sales

No shock there, sales-wise. Like the Smart, it's a fashion accessory. A few people buy them when they first come out so they can be seen in something cute, that makes a statement ("I don't drive a 'Slade or an SRT8!"), but then the things sit in a garage most of the time. No second-time buyers, as the fashionisti move on to the next conspicuous statement, and they're essentially useless as daily transportation in North America.

Another example of a European company trying to impose their values, culture, and preferences on us. With predictable response. Sorry to all those Chrysler dealers who had to build new facilities so the inventory would have a nice place to gather dust!

· Administrator
609 Posts
I fail to see how these could be "essentially useless". In the worst economy North America has ever seen, small cars like these will be around a long time. Most people can't afford the increase in gas and maintenance costs associated with larger, older vehicles. With an average 30 MPG, it's double that of the JGC SRT-8 (15 MPG).

As for its sales-figures, see above. Also, Fiat is new to North America. It's not that easy to penetrate into the very competitive North American market.

Lastly, I see nothing wrong with "a European company trying to impose their values, culture, and preferences on us." Obviously the American preference for big,bad,gas-guzzling SUV's didn't work out to well in the end didn't it, with both GM and Chrysler on the verge of bankruptcy and needing the government to give them billions of dollars to keep them afloat.
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