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