Can’t Have a Fiat in the States?
By Alex Ricciuti
Fiat made an announcement recently that demonstrates how the once-beleaguered Italian car maker has turned its fortunes around. It is coming back to America.
Excited? Well, unless you are abjectly obsessed with the utilitarian design of IVECO commercial trucks and already have worked out a plan to pimp one up, don’t start Googling for local FIAT dealers just yet.
Fiat CEO Executive Sergio Marchionne said last week that the Italian automotive group, which also owns Iveco, a maker of commercial vehicles in Europe, will bring Iveco to the United States .”My expectation is that we will have something done within six to nine months,” Marchionne told analysts during a conference call, as reported by Reuters.
Fiat is doing well across much of its model range in Europe. And like PSA Group, which owns the Peugeot and Citroen brands, it always hints at a return to the North American market and then backs away or puts it off into a future that never comes to pass.
The reason they say they’d like to come is because, in a global economy, you feel the need to be in the world’s largest market, which is the United States. The reason they never actually come to the US is the same. In a global market, they can grow sales and expand into all the emerging markets in Eastern Europe and Asia where they can incrementally invest and produce sales and profits. The US is the big enchilada, but a risky one – tough to sell small cars in, especially with residual impressions by American consumers of the poor-quality French and Italian cars. It would require a huge investment to go nationwide with a dealer network
That’s why they go small – like just selling commercial trucks and nothing else. But who can really say what the future will bring?
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