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Fiat's re-entry to the North American market after a quarter-century absence, is so far proving a bit of a bumpy one.

The little 500 is proving a tough sell in the US and dealers, many who have invested heavily in new facilities to sell the little city car are growing increasingly nervous about revenues that are turning out to be far less than originally projected by Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne.

In an attempt to address these concerns, Fiat recently hired Tim Kuniskis as its new North American head, replacing Laura Soave, who has left after just 20 months on the job.

Kuniskis appears to have quite a task ahead of him, though with a solid, credible background in dealer operations and marketing at Chrysler (having been with the company for 19 years and worked in a number of the company's regional business centers and under four different management structures), there are signs already that under his leadership, things are beginning to change. Namely he's reopened channels of communication between Fiat corporate and its dealer network, which had essentially been non-existent since June.

"Since he's been onboard I've seen some positive changes," remarked Carl Galeana, a Fiat dealer in suburban Detroit and member of the Fiat advisory committee.

More: Fiat's North America Chief Aims to Reassure Concerned Dealers on Autoguide.com
 

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Re-opening dealership communication channels is good and all, but the real issue here is perception.

The perception is of the 500 in the U.S is either wrong (JLo, fashion statement, etc) or totally non-existent (lack of proper marketing).

Fiat/Chrsyler is not sending the right message to the right people.

I'm hoping the new guy understands this and does the right thing.
 

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Ya, I hope he realizes, like most other car manufacturers do, that car commercials are supposed to about, like, you know ... the car!!
 

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QUit marketing the 500 as an economy car for 20 somethings

Re-opening dealership communication channels is good and all, but the real issue here is perception.

The perception is of the 500 in the U.S is either wrong (JLo, fashion statement, etc) or totally non-existent (lack of proper marketing).

Fiat/Chrsyler is not sending the right message to the right people.

I'm hoping the new guy understands this and does the right thing.
I agree, Fiat enthusiasts are the market, as a "sports economy car". See the abarth "seduction" video on utube. That's a much better add. The 500 is the most modified and customized car in the EU. I sure hope the corporation and DEALERS wake up soon. Use the core buyers to help market to those others that are interested. Dealers should be doing everything they can to get the car out there on the street and helping the fiat lovers/owners to market the cars. Sponsor some custom cars for car shows and the street and get them out in public; maybe create events like road rallies, etc. mall appearances.
 

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Both Dealerships here in South Florida already have started to participate in local shows.. Rick Case Fiat had some Fiats at the local Ferrari dealership during a car show there.. And Arrigo Fiat just last Sunday had some cars at a 700 plus car show that is only done every year and draws thousands..
 

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You can open all the lines of communication you want but public interaction, which has been stated here, is even more important.

The "seduction video" is perhaps one of the best car commercials I have ever seen. It is more than just the girl it is the seduction from the beauty of the Abarth and what it does to car enthusiasts. Who ever came up with that ad needs to be hired on full time to help save Fiat.
 
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Ya, I hope he realizes, like most other car manufacturers do, that car commercials are supposed to about, like, you know ... the car!!
J Lo is the ad campaign for the forseeable future.
 
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