Fiat USA again on the ropes?

Discuss everything about the "new" 124 Spider here! The good, bad and ugly, anything goes. But keep it clean please!
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baltobernie
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Fiat USA again on the ropes?

Postby baltobernie » Wed Jan 17, 2018 4:16 pm

https://carbuzz.com/news/is-fiat-about-to-get-kicked-out-of-the-us-again

Annapolis, Maryland Fiat/Alfa dealership just dropped the Fiat brand. If FCA can't sell 124's and 500's here, they're in trouble.

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spidernut
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Re: Fiat USA again on the ropes?

Postby spidernut » Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:40 pm

Fiat has repeated the exact same mistakes they made in the 80s.

Today:
1. Plagued with reliability and initial quality issues. Both were avoidable.
2. All models (except the 124) are variants of the same small car
3. Not a large enough selection of styles
4. Way overpriced compared to competitors with established reliability
5. Advertising that didn't motivate American buyers
6. Too slow to update models to appeal to American tastes
7. Lousy dealer and service network and parts availability

When I bought my 81 brand new, you could get:
- Fiat Spider
- Brava
- Strada
- X 1/9

Today, you can get
- Fiat 500 (various trim levels plus the 500e)
- Fiat 500L
- Fiat 500X
- Fiat 124

The only Fiat dealership that was close to me is now gone since they averaged 25 cars sold per month. You can't sell cars in that manner in the US market and survive financially.
John G.
1979 Spider (Owned since 2000)
1971 124 Sport Spider (Owned since 2017)
1977 Spider (Sold 2017)
1979 Spider (Sadly cut up and disposed of in 2017)
1979 Spider (Sold 2015)
1980 Spider (Sadly sold in 2013)
1981 Spider (Sadly sold in 1985)

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MattVAS
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Re: Fiat USA again on the ropes?

Postby MattVAS » Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:58 pm

spidernut wrote:Today:
1. Plagued with reliability and initial quality issues. Both were avoidable.
2. All models (except the 124) are variants of the same small car
3. Not a large enough selection of styles
4. Way overpriced compared to competitors with established reliability
5. Advertising that didn't motivate American buyers
6. Too slow to update models to appeal to American tastes
7. Lousy dealer and service network and parts availability


You nailed it with all of this.

When the 500 came out I really thought it would be a 12K car not a 18k car. I was blown away by the price. I know the prices have come down over that last couple years trying to boost sales but not to the amount that the car level is at. Let's not fool ourselves the base Fiat 500 is a 2 door econo-box at best. This is a starter car for the 16 year old. This level of car starts at 12K just ask Hyundai & Kai :mrgreen: . I think if they just lowered the price to the price point at which that level of car starts they might actually turn stuff around.

All of this doesn't really matter though as Sergio is actively trying to sell FCA. He'll sell it all or he'll sell it by bits. Look at the recent news about a Chinese Auto Manufacturer actively bidding for Jeep.

Things in "Italian" car land are starting to smell more like Wonton Soup and less like Spaghetti.
Matt Phillips
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http://www.vickauto.com
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focodave
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Re: Fiat USA again on the ropes?

Postby focodave » Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:55 pm

It really sucks for those of us who cherish and adore our vintage Spiders.
Any glimmer of hope of the FIAT (America) comeback making folks appreciate these machines is all but gone.
Older people who always thought FIATs were junk will now feel thoroughly vindicated.
Young people who may have gained a bit of appreciation for the brand (and our vintage FIAT machines) will now start to feel that all FIATs are junk.
We can't win.
At least we all know how cool and special these cars are.
I certainly don't expect to impress too many people when I say I have completely refurbished a vintage FIAT...
Last edited by focodave on Wed Feb 14, 2018 1:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
1980 Spider 2000 F.I. (my hobby)
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2015 Subaru Outback Premier (wife's daily driver)

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baltobernie
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Re: Fiat USA again on the ropes?

Postby baltobernie » Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:27 pm

spidernut wrote:Today:
...
2. All models (except the 124) are variants of the same small car.
What's frustrating to me is Fiat's inexplicable inability to translate Italian to English. The Alfa Giulietta I drove in Italy was a terrific car. It had great manners, great materials and great workmanship, but best of all, it had style. Even an autophobe could guess the nationality of the car. I don't think it would outsell the Golf here, but I'll bet FCA would have outsold all other US-market Fiats with the Giulietta. But what did we get? The Dodge Dart, which was put out of its misery after only a few horrible years. I drove one of those when first introduced here. The salesman and I didn't leave the lot when I turned it around in disgust.
I just don't get it :?:

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Re: Fiat USA again on the ropes?

Postby spidernut » Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:33 am

Think of how far Hyundai has come since the 1986 Hyundai Accent which was a total pile of junk. They're now one of the most popular brands and have better reliability than the majority of brands. Why? They cared about and are focused on quality and the needs of the American market. Fiat doesn't do that, sadly. Sergio Marchionne missed the mark.
John G.
1979 Spider (Owned since 2000)
1971 124 Sport Spider (Owned since 2017)
1977 Spider (Sold 2017)
1979 Spider (Sadly cut up and disposed of in 2017)
1979 Spider (Sold 2015)
1980 Spider (Sadly sold in 2013)
1981 Spider (Sadly sold in 1985)

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Re: Fiat USA again on the ropes?

Postby TX82FIAT » Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:21 pm

It is a shame. Hyundai and Kia both entered the markets with virtual junk cars. But as pointed out, the price point for these cars was so low that they were able to move significant volume and drastically improve quality over a relatively short period of time while offering a variety of models to choose from. It was my hope that FIAT as a brand would have learned the lessons of the past and delivered a more reliable car. Think about it!!! People go their lives without being in a car that breaks down. The consumer quality expectation in the US has increased faster than FIAT improved their quality. They entered the market behind the curve with a limited product that was overpriced.

So... I'm with the rest of you. The average car guy in the US with a little knowledge will not understand "or care to understand" our classics based on the history in our market.

Screw Em!! I'll enjoy weekend rides in the hill country listening to the engine with a huge smile on my face.
Buon giro a tutti! - enjoy the ride!

82 Fiat Spider 2000
03 BMW M3
07 Chevy Suburban

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Re: Fiat USA again on the ropes?

Postby fishboy » Mon Mar 12, 2018 3:37 am

I really don't understand any of you on this post. I (and many others like me) own both new and "vintage" FIATs with no issues of reliability (currently 92k on 2012 that was purchased in 2013). Prior to the purchase of the 500 I daily drove my '71 spider daily into downtown LA, as well as trips to Washington near Canadian border, with no issues at all. In college I drove my '69 spyder daily without issues for years and that car was picked up for paying off $200 in parking tickets after it sat abandoned for over a year. FIATs are very well engineered and reliable cars.

When I hear FIAT fans speaking of poor reliability and how FIAT should design the cars for American likes (ie. oversized, soft, boring) it really bothers me. If I wanted to drive a Chevy, Ford or Dodge I would drive one. But I don't. I enjoy the driving experience and light, agile and nimble vehicles. If you want to compare reliability and cost perhaps you should look to the Mini.
Mini charges a huge premium and has horrible reliability. One person even mentioned the advertising. If you remember, the advertising was wonderful and award winning when FIAT first reentered the US. Then the Italian woman who was running advertising was fired and advertising in the US was put under Chrysler control. Now, if you see advertising is is boring and unoriginal. Now they have even turned over most of the dealerships to Dodge/Chrysler dealers. They do not know or respect the brand. This combination is what is killing sales. I live is southern California and you are hard pressed to find more than a few vehicles available at any dealer, they are all automatics, and Abarth models are practically unobtainable.
Bill
1971 124 sport spider 1600
2012 500 pop

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Re: Fiat USA again on the ropes?

Postby aj81spider » Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:54 am

It's great you're having good luck. However Fiat has ranked at the bottom of every reliability survey since they re-entered the US market, so there are many Fiat owners who are not as lucky as you. The other problem this causes is that anyone doing small amounts of research before buying a car will be turned off by the low quality scores.

Fiat is also at the bottom of sales in the US. You might object to "designing cars for the American market" but if you actually want to sell cars in the American market you need to build stuff that Americans want to buy. Quality, poor dealer network and advertising aside, I just don't know too many people who want to buy a tiny shoe box car for more than you would pay for a larger, more reliable (and IMO better styled) Honda Civic.
A.J.

1974 Fiat 124 Spider
2006 Corvette
1981 Spider 2000 (sold 2013 - never should have sold that car)

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Re: Fiat USA again on the ropes?

Postby RRoller123 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:50 pm

It would be nice if they had started with more than one model for the first few years as well.....
'80 FI Spider 2000 (rolling "resto")
'74 X1/9 (many years ago)
'79 X1/9 (fewer years ago)
'86 Jaguar XJ6 (2nd Hobby Car)
2011 Chevy Malibu (daily driver)
2010 Chevy Silverado 2500HD Ext Cab 4WD/SB
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Re: Fiat USA again on the ropes?

Postby lanciahf » Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:50 pm

Our 2013 500 has 99,980 miles. Wife uses it daily on her 100 mile commute. It has been reliable, some problems here and there but nothing serious. I think what everybody is upset is that Fiat had a great opportunity and blew it again. Sergio tried to sell Italian style without any substance. The base model should have been the turbo model since the beginning along with a cheap mainstream hatch. Maybe the Punto or Panda. Fiat needs a car guy to save it not a banker.

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Re: Fiat USA again on the ropes?

Postby spidernut » Thu Apr 12, 2018 11:10 am

"some problems here and there"....is the problem.

My 2009 Honda Civic:
- Currently has 135,000 miles on it
- Only one problem in 9 years which was traced to a defective serpentine belt
- 39.75 mpg on the freeway with four adults, average 32-33 mpg combined
- Spacious enough for four adults to be comfortable
- Glued to the road handling
- Respectable acceleration for an economy car
- Purchased for $15,500 out the door very well equipped
- Design - well, it is average and common but nicer than some
- Above average material quality, fit and finish

I have looked at every Fiat model and driven the Abarth 500 and Spider
- Horrible blind spots
- Materials on most models were cheap looking
- Mostly crammed interiors (mainly rear seating)
- Fit and finish were acceptable
- Prices were insanely high
- Fuel mileage was good
- Some designs were attractive, while others were gawky
- Reliability for all but the Spider was at the bottom of all surveys for initial and long-term reliability
- The Abarth and Spider were a blast to drive

Success in the American market is very dependent upon many factors. I would LOVE to see Fiat succeed in the USA. I just don't see the right vision for the American market. Selling a Fiat 500 variant in my area is akin to trying to sell a Dodge, crew cab, 4x4, long bed, dually in Tokyo. No matter how good the vehicle is, it is the wrong vehicle for that market.
John G.
1979 Spider (Owned since 2000)
1971 124 Sport Spider (Owned since 2017)
1977 Spider (Sold 2017)
1979 Spider (Sadly cut up and disposed of in 2017)
1979 Spider (Sold 2015)
1980 Spider (Sadly sold in 2013)
1981 Spider (Sadly sold in 1985)

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Re: Fiat USA again on the ropes?

Postby Ragno124 » Fri Apr 13, 2018 1:20 pm

My belief in the US market for Fiat is simple, Fiat doesn't care about selling Fiats in the US. They only took control of Chrysler for the Jeep brand which they are selling big time in Europe and Asia. Fiat sales in the US are just an afterthought.
Steve Muzzillo

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2006 Acura MDX
2008 Honda CRV
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2015 Acura MDX

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Re: Fiat USA again on the ropes?

Postby RRoller123 » Fri Apr 13, 2018 5:38 pm

+1
'80 FI Spider 2000 (rolling "resto")
'74 X1/9 (many years ago)
'79 X1/9 (fewer years ago)
'86 Jaguar XJ6 (2nd Hobby Car)
2011 Chevy Malibu (daily driver)
2010 Chevy Silverado 2500HD Ext Cab 4WD/SB
2015 Keystone Montana High Country 343RL

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Re: Fiat USA again on the ropes?

Postby johndemar » Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:53 am

We had a club drive a few months back, and one of the stops was at a Fiat dealership to take a picture of our classic spiders along side a new one. Surprise, the dealership was gone.
76 Fiat 124 Spider
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Amadio Motor, Jeannette, PA


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