Fiat Shifts Gears, Says 500 Sold in North America will have Fiat Badge

By Brendan Moore

06.29.2009

2009-fiat-500Last week the people that work for Fiat, and, are stationed in Auburn Hills, Michigan, were saying that their main brand had too many negative connotations for US consumers, and that Alfa Romeo would be the brand that would represent the Italian might of Fiat Group.

And now?

Now Fiat is saying that four versions of the Fiat 500 will be sold in North America by 2011, and all of those cars will wear a Fiat badge, and the different iterations of the 500 will be the only Fiats sold in the US in the future.

Robert Giolito, the head of styling at Fiat, and, the designer of the 500, said so in Italy last week as the 500 cabriolet was launched.

Hmmm.

Last week a Fiat spokesman said the 500 would be sold in the US, but without the Fiat badge. The 500 would be sold simply as the “500”, and would be sold at select Chrysler dealers.

The recent statement about the Fiat badge does not clarify how the Fiats will be sold in North America, whether that’s at their own stand-alone dealers, Fiat-Chrysler dealers, or, sold as the Fiat 500 at a Chrysler dealer.

Giolito stated that the four versions of the Fiat 500 that will be retailed in the US are the standard 500, an Abarth 500, a cabriolet and an estate/combi/wagon.

Many people questioned the wisdom of Fiat’s apparent desire to go without their main brand in the North American market, but it appears those concerns are academic, given the most recent statement from Fiat.

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Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at http://www.cedarpointconsulting.com.

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6 Comments

  1. They’re Italians, not Germans or Japanese. So what if Fiat issues conflicting statements?

    It’s part of that wonderful Italian psyche. I love them for that.

  2. This is merely a preview of Fiat’s PR people.

  3. I think it was inevitable. A sub-compact from Chrysler is a big yawn. But a 500 from Fiat? It’s bound to generate interest, especially from import car drivers, who are exactly the ones the domestics need to target.

  4. Wise move on Fiat’s part. Fiat has a great reputation in Europe, especially with the new 500. That’s what the younger generation in America will be looking at. And that’s where the sales will be. My daughter’s generation (20 somethings) could care less that Fiat had a poor dealer network here in the’70s. All that’s ancient history now. Personally, I’m quite excited about the prospects of some day owning another new Fiat or Alfa. Fond memories–especially from a couple of Alfas.

  5. The Fiats and Alfas can’t get here soon for me. As an Italian living in America, I’d like to be in a new Alfa again.

    I am from Napoli and you see the Fiats everywhere.

  6. FIAT is actually sending 4 versions of the 500 to The States- great news, the US market sure could use the variety- I drove one of these things in Greece… nice car, and a lot of fun-

    Viva FIAT!

    http://fiat2america.blogspot.com

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