2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-25 09:36
The joy of the introduction of the Fiat 500 has weakened. The Chrysler dealers groan because they have to provide extra exhibition space for the small car
The Italian small car Fiat 500 rolling onto the US market met with displeasure from many dealerships of its sister company Chrysler. You don't just have to control a fifth brand alongside Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and the Ram trucks. Group boss Sergio Marchionne now also demands that the dealers build extra showrooms for the retro car. Fiat controls Chrysler after its bankruptcy.
"The joy about the introduction of the Fiat on the market has weakened," a car dealer from the populous east coast told the "Wall Street Journal" (Tuesday). He actually wanted to present the Fiat 500 right next to Chrysler models. But that no longer works. A new showroom would cost him at least a million dollars.
The dealers have to apply to Chrysler to be allowed to offer the small car at all. If there are not enough partners within its own dealer network, Marchionne will also look outside of it if necessary. With the Fiat 500, the automaker wants to build on the success of the Mini from BMW. Thanks to its cult status, it sells well even in the USA, where customers are actually into huge SUVs, pick-up trucks and limousines. From January to July, BMW got rid of almost 25,300 Mini.
Small car boom is ebbing
However, the small car boom that peaked in 2008 appears to be generally ebbing. Fuel prices have normalized and the economy is recovering. That is why many Americans are turning to road cruisers again. Even the Mini had to give up. The sales of the competing Smart have slumped massively. Since the beginning of the year, Daimler has only got rid of 3,900 two-seater vehicles in the USA.
The Fiat 500 will be available in the US towards the end of the year. Chrysler itself has no comparable car in its range. The US automaker, which has been ailing for years, is supposed to get back on track with Italian technology. However, the first models are not expected until the end of 2011 at the earliest. CEO Marchionne is also considering bringing the Alfa Romeo brand to the USA. (dpa)
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