Fiat Ireland: Their Point of View

A little while back we ran an article about car sales in Ireland in January. We asked Fiat Automobiles Ireland to respond.

2016 Fiat Ireland model range: fiat.ie
2016 Fiat Ireland model range: fiat.ie

In the spirit of balance, we considered it a good idea to see what Fiat had to say about the market position and general outlook for their products. Here is what Gerry Clarke, Country Director, FIAT Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Ireland Ltd had to say:

“There are a number of points to consider regarding FIAT in Ireland. FIAT is strongest in segments that are traditionally very small in Ireland. We’re segment leaders across Europe with 500 and Panda but for a number of reasons Irish buyers tend to prefer larger cars and especially three-box saloons, an example of which we currently do not offer in RHD! Our B-segment car is now nearing the end of its product cycle and with the end of Bravo production we’re now missing altogether from C-segment and these still segments represent the majority of sales in Ireland.”

2016 Fiat 500X red
2016 Fiat 500X: fiat.ie

“Later this year, though, we’ll be back in the C-segment with our new Tipo, a car we’re confident will boost our sales significantly because it will offer everything the Irish buyer wants: style, equipment, space, a long warranty and, crucially, exceptional value for money. We’re also seeing some progress with our 500X crossover as people begin to see them on the road and realise that they’re actually much roomer and have a much stronger presence than they were expecting.”

“Also, it’s worth remembering that FIAT may have had a huge market share in the past but those sales corresponded to a period of huge losses for the brand both in Ireland and globally. Sales for sales’ sake not the be-all-and-end-all. FIAT Ireland has returned to profit with no discounting or pre-registering taking place on its vehicles and is working towards growing the dealer network on the back of an ever-stronger product line-up. With more dealers and more products in the right segments, we are confident we can grow FIAT (and the FCA Group’s) sales and profits in Ireland over the coming years.”

Here´s one from an earlier time, the 1983-1990 Fiat Regata: source
Here´s one from an earlier time, the 1983-1990 Fiat Regata: source

 

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

15 thoughts on “Fiat Ireland: Their Point of View”

  1. Whether his optimism for the new models is vindicated or not, a remarkably straightforward and puff-free response from Mr Clarke. It must frustrate that the UK mainland market seems to dictate which vehicles get produced in right hand drive.

    1. I thought it candid and clear. I hope the UK branch of Fiat are helpful with selecting the model mix and trim options. Things like freedom to choose colours and specs are in important part of laying claim to your car and make buying new more rewarding.

    2. Factually, Gerry Clarke is correct. All of these factors feed into Fiat’s poor performance in Ireland. He’s also correct in saying Fiat were for years virtually buying market share on cheap finance deals – which did nothing for Fiat’s already patchy image. Their problem now is that while they are no longer in the pile ’em high, sell ’em cheap business, they have become virtually invisible in Ireland. Even Fiat dealers appear to have disappeared – at least in Cork where I spend my time.

      As I pointed out before, a three-volume Tipo could sell well in Ireland – possibly more so than a hatchback – but because the UK is unlikely to bite, Fiat Ireland will probably be denied it. The 500X cannot hide the fact that it’s trying to be cute, which will be an issue with Irish buyers.

      I have my issues with some of Fiat’s business decisions – especially in terms of brand stewardship, but I do want them to succeed. Unfortunately, I fear decisions taken in Slough may ultimately decide just how successful Mr. Clarke’s efforts will be at turning Fiat Ireland’s business around.

    1. That´s heartening. Where did you read that?
      I am not being flippant here but surely FCA could do something else with that platform? Ford confused customers by basing the X-type on the Ford Mondeo but why not make a RWD Fiat saloon or CUV off the same mechanicals?

    2. Well, it looks like the Alfa platform will be the basis for at least next generation Dodge models and maybe some Chysler cars too. I fear however that for Fiat RWD makes no sense. The next Journey/Freemont will apparently be based on the Cherokee/modified Giulietta platform.

    3. The answer to your question is a Jeep (sold at Fiat dealerships). Unless you prefer the Fiat Freemont or the 500X.

    1. Hi Daniel.
      Does anyone have an answer to that?
      “Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne said today that the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 sedans will eventually be discontinued as the automaker refocuses its efforts on the production of its popular Jeep SUVs, Ram pickups and boosting its electric vehicle lineup.” So said the Detroit Free Press on January 27th.

    2. Don’t let thel press fool you. There is a clear intention to keep selling the Dodge Darts and Chrysler 200 for another couple of years. After that there will be a replacement sourced from Fiat or another brand for these cars.

      Some ideas for the replacement of those cars:

      The Dart is also made in China (badged Fiat Viaggio). If Buick brings cars from China, why not FCA:

      An alternative is bringing the future Mexican Dodge Neon (aka Fiat Tipo) to the USA. That car was probably engineered with the USA in mind, based on Fiat 500L platform.

  2. The plan seems to be to replace the low margin rental-fleet fodder sedans with re-badged cars from another manufacturer. FCA aren’t saying who, and probably don’t know.

    My instinct is that it’s one of Sergio’s smarter moves, although their US factory workers are unlikely to agree. SUVs and crossovers are here to stay – even mighty BMW’s output last year was over 50% SUVS and CUVs.

  3. Personally I would like to see Fiat spin out the RWD Alfa Giulia platform into more models. The US market would seem to be a good fit here and I could see Chrysler wanting to get their hands on it, no matter what the Bejumpered One says.

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