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Sales targets for the Fiat 500 were set at an ambitious 6,000 units per month, and surprise surprise, the car isn't meeting them. This might be due to the fact that it's a subcompact, foreign branded car in a market where gasoline is (relatively) cheap and large vehicles reign supreme. Or it could be the fault of your marketing agency, if you ask Chrysler.

Fiat marketing chief Oliver Francois told trade publication Advertising Age that the brand has an "awareness problem", and apparently, a product placement in a Jennifer Lopez music video didn't help matters. Fiat has also reportedly dumped their ad agency, which formerly employed Fiat North America CEO Laura Sove.

So far Fiat has sold 11,088 examples, far off the 72,000 unit annual target. The axe has to fall on someone, and we'll be waiting to see who ends up taking responsibility for this matter.

More: Fiat 500 Sales Missing Targets, Chrysler Blaming Marketing Strategy on AutoGuide.com
 

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Chrysler is notorious for "miss" marketing...even their phenomenal selling PT Cruiser had lousy marketing campaigns. The Crossfire marketing was nearly non-existant and what there was...well, if you don't remember it, count yourself lucky. Plenty of horrid ad campaigns with all their lines of vehicles.

I think Fiat's best hope is to get their butts in gear and open their Studios as fast as possible and get the cars on the road. It worked very well for the PT Cruisers. As a first year model owner (and I still have my PT today - approaching 100k miles and been an absolute peach), I was getting stopped literally everywhere I went and asked questions about the car. I was practically selling the car just on my time spent with people, lol. ;) And the dealerships were organizing and encouraging Cruiser events that got the cars out in the public eye en masse.

The PT had an advantage in that the timing was absolutely perfect - a very different, nostalgic looking car that was extremely versatile to boot. Nowadays, there are a lot more unusual choices (partly due to the wild success of the PT) and Fiat will have to work a little harder due to that.

I do think there are some great directions the ads could go and I'd like to offer my design services for sale to Fiat - as an owner and professional graphic artist, I have some marketing ideas with, go figure, actual target audience markets in mind! Fiat reps can contact me through the board here. ;) :D
 

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When I saw the title of this thread, my first response was "what marketing strategy?"

I think the 500s had been on sale for about 3 months before I saw the first J-Lo commercial...

I have to agree w/ Triumph above - say what you will about Kia (and the HUGE numbers of used Souls littering used car lots), they hit it out of the park with the Soul ad campaign.
 

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This article is a month old, why was it posted now? This came out a week after the Jlo overreaction and since have released the second Jlo commercial.
 

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This article is a month old, why was it posted now? This came out a week after the Jlo overreaction and since have released the second Jlo commercial.
It wasn't posted now. The OP was posted September 28th, one day after the date of the article, which was in itself posted one day after the source (Advertising Age) which originally posted it on September 26th.
 

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I guess I am with lorvar on this, although everyone is entitled to their own opinion. My understanding based on the reports that I am reading is that Chrysler is showing sales figures among the highest of all auto makers right now, with Fiat alone bringing in around 2700 units in September. Fiat appears to be giving the Mini a real run for their money with minimal marketing. (Just to clarify my first car was a 1967 Mini Cooper S and I love the old Mini's). The sales numbers are made more interesting given that Fiat did not really even start any nationwide advertising until August. I am still not personally seeing a lot of marketing by Fiat, although we are approached every day by someone, usually a few people, who have read or seen something somewhere on the Fiat and want to ask a ton of questions about our 500c. From my own "street level" perspective I am amazed at the brand cred that Fiat is building so quickly and the level of brand awareness for the car being out such a short time. The craziest experience my wife and I have had was at a restaurant in Orange County where we attended a friend's party. The valet area was filled with a Ferrari, a couple of Bentleys, high end Mercedes and BMWs, a Jag XKR, etc. We came driving in right to the front door, top down in our 500c so I could let me wife out. Immediately every valet and a number of customers crowded around the car wanting to check it out. Everyone had a question about the Fiat, or commented that they had seen the TV commercial. It was nuts. This crowd was no stranger to cars and they all knew about the Fiat. My point is that someone in Fiat marketing is doing something right. Can they do it better, probably. But for now I say kudo's to Fiat for creating the RIGHT type of buzz and brand awareness for the 500! The ultimate test for Fiat marketing will be if they can compel those that are curious and intrigued to actually wanting to become Fiat owners. Time will tell.
 

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If all else fails, run this as an ad. Who's going to ignore that?

 

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You got that right! :) Looks like this car has got some serious suspension work. First Fiat I have seen with a lift kit rather than a drop. Very cool. Thanks for passing this on.
 

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Funny to watch it bounce on the approach.
 

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They need to step up their game. The marketing outside of the country is more edgy and fun like the car. They need to display the car, options, a vibe. Here is a good example...
 

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Marketing strategy

From my perspective the real problem is they have few dealers. They should ditch the whole "Studio" idea and just let all Chrysler dealers sell the car. Who the **** needs the fancy separate showrooms? I mean really, it's built in the plant in Mexico where the PT Cruisers were built with an engine built in MI, why the **** can't any Chrysler dealer sell and service it? All cars are world products now; this should come as no shock to anyone.

I purchased a Pop last week, but it took one **** of a lot of effort on my part, I really had to want it to go 100+ miles into another state with all sorts of registration complications to get the car. Not a single dealer in NH or VT, what the **** are they thinking? I have had numerous folks ask me about it already, but as soon as they hear of the hassle I had getting it their eyes glaze over. Get them out on the lots everywhere if you really want to sell them, while I'm not an impulse buyer, many are and you need to have the cars available locally for those who are.

BTW, so far I love the car, it’s a hoot.
 

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Hi

My understanding, in part, is that since Fiat wants to sell the car with no haggle pricing and their warranty, maintenance and other stuff is a bit different from that of Chrysler/Dodge/Ram, then it could be a bit of an issue trying to sell them at the same location, especially if the dealership can get a bigger mark up on talking you into a different car than the car with a no haggle price.

Regards

Pat
 

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From my perspective the real problem is they have few dealers. They should ditch the whole "Studio" idea and just let all Chrysler dealers sell the car. Who the **** needs the fancy separate showrooms? I mean really, it's built in the plant in Mexico where the PT Cruisers were built with an engine built in MI, why the **** can't any Chrysler dealer sell and service it? All cars are world products now; this should come as no shock to anyone.

I purchased a Pop last week, but it took one **** of a lot of effort on my part, I really had to want it to go 100+ miles into another state with all sorts of registration complications to get the car. Not a single dealer in NH or VT, what the **** are they thinking? I have had numerous folks ask me about it already, but as soon as they hear of the hassle I had getting it their eyes glaze over. Get them out on the lots everywhere if you really want to sell them, while I'm not an impulse buyer, many are and you need to have the cars available locally for those who are.

BTW, so far I love the car, it’s a hoot.
Did you go to Kelly Fiat of Peabody (MA)? They will deliver your car to you almost anywhere. They will also sit with you at the DMV / Town Hall to register your car. They delivered mine to NH. I know someone that had one delivered to them that lives in Burlington, VT a 5 hour drive one way. Getting service on the other hand may be an issue however for me it’s only 40 min away. I have heard they are is going to certify techs at their Chrysler dealers for Fiat service. :D

As for a the lack of dealers... You could compare Fiat/Chrysler to Mini/BMW. These cars are part of a small niche market. They want to keep these cars branded separately from their main line of cars to give them a sense of originality. You’re not just buying a Fait, you’re buying a life style. Hence the “Studio” instead of a dealer. When catering to a smaller niche market segment there is less revenue. Less revenue equals less dealers. As they introduce more models they will be able to expand as you are seeing with Mini. ;)
 
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