FIAT, the Little Car that Could. FIAT USA, can it Follow Suit?
The FIAT Gucci’s are gone, as is the Abarth, and as hard as our dealers try to maintain and build excitement in this brand – which, may I say, I am an unabashed devotee of – I am increasingly more disappointed in FIAT’s seeming lack of ability to truly hold the American interest – rather, teasing them for months as they have done in the past and then creating such an overwhelming shortage in the product that it does little more than incite and completely turn off would be customers.
I had hoped that lessons had been learned with the extremely underwhelming initial introduction to the FIAT back in the American market in 2011. Despite, whatever marketing misjudgments were made, fortunately, the quality of design of the car and it’s features have continued to build an interest – dare I say, DESPITE erratic and indeed somewhat condescending marketing campaigns – telling women (or at least having Jennifer Lopez telling us) straight out that we should spend $2k more on the Gucci model. Never mind that it was priced higher that the high performance Abarth…another debacle of epic proportions!
More than six months of non-stop hype about this vehicle, which, more than succeed at bringing about intended affect – a fever level pitch of excitement. And then the first Abarth hit the dealerships…and the commercials that had run nonstop since Super Bowl and the digital advertising came to a screeching halt! But why? This was not to be a limited edition like the Pink Ribbon Edition, or the Gucci Model – this was to be the mainstay (albeit, high end) that was going to bring in the masculine and performance conscience customer – to which, Olivier Francois, head of the Fiat brand and chief marketing officer for Fiat for Chrysler Group, I still fervently assert is also, very much a woman.
Despite your concerted and single-focused efforts to market myopically to the male population. However, at this point marketing strategy seems to have no bearing, as FIAT failed considerably at even being to address consumer demand. Announcing within two weeks after delivering the first Abarths to the Dealerships that there would be no more make for the model year.
So, I guess I ask the obvious question. What plans does FIAT have for seriously stepping up its game in the American market?
Consumers that have been fortunate enough to get their hands on a FIAT know that the style, performance and value is there. However, as we move into the third season of the FIAT in America, I think that I safely echo the sentiments of many consumers when I say that the U.S. public has been less than overwhelmed about the commitment that FIAT has exhibited about bringing its product into the American market. FIAT has shown it’s self to be the the “”Little Car That Could”… Can FIAT Corporation follow suit?