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Went to the SF Auto Show on Saturday, and while it was fun, the difference between how FCA and Mazda marketed the 124 Spider vs the MX-5 was striking. Both companies took part in test drive programs, with FCA making an Abarth and a Lusso available.

On the floor though, Mazda far outdid FCA with both a hardtop and soft top model available for people to sit in, check out, etc. Additionally, when I was there a rep from Mazda was there as well, answering questions...it was a popular car. FCA had a Lusso on the floor and there was no one from Fiat any where near the car....there were also few interested parties. The signage was poor...just something on the windshield...not as nice as most other manufacturers. Signage for Alfa Romeo, Dodge, and Ram were huge.

It was a very big letdown.
 

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I get the feeling (having talked to my salesman) FIAT doesn't give a SH.. about selling its products. I think they make X amount of cars short of the demand. They had a section for Fiat, now it's like they have 2 cars in the corner, abandoned and there was a few demand for the Fiat X, and dealer not in a hurry ordering them. Too busy selling the Dodge vans and Pickups, where Chrysler is offering big discounts.
I think that's what's their bread and butter.

Anyway my Fiat salesman now sells Chrysler products and Fiat well it's a bothersome.
 
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Not long ago here, someone relayed their story of repair problems passed on to the head of FCA, and magically the problems were repaired in short order.

Prosecco, may I suggest that in a day or so, when this thread might have a few more replies, that you send a short note to the president of FCA USA detailing your car show experience, including a link to this discussion thread. These are for-profit corporations, their actions being liable first to shareholders, second (unfortunately) to us, customers/owners.

I love my Spider, but it saddens me that we see so little, if any, of the spotlight shining on our cars. And frankly, it scares me that these corporate attitudes could lead to me owning a rather exclusive car that could go obsolete before it even gets going.

Spider owners cannot be the only people championing this car in public. It is time for FCA to step up and start marketing this car properly. TV, print, web, and even product placement in pop-culture and entertainment. All of the North America market knows about their trucks, minivans, and retro muscle cars. Time to start making the world aware of the 124 Spider before it dies a premature death.

Steve.
 

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Steve,
surely you're used to that lack of attention.. you ride a Guzzi :)
but seriously... does it really matter? yeah it'd be nice to have the car we love promoted, but does it make us love the car any less?
Honestly, I rather they not promote it too much as it keeps the exclusivity. I don't want to see thousands of 124 spiders driving down the street, just like you see a bunch of Mustangs, Camaros, BRZ's and the like.


The least I see the Fiats, the better.
 

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The Fiat model line up is just not suited to North America - it's a model lineup designed for Europe (where they are doing pretty well), but what counts as volume models in Europe (Punto and Tipo - think Ford Fiesta and Focus respectively) are low volume in the US. FCA are going to stay focused on Chrysler / Dodge, with the big new push being Alfa (premium sedans and SUV's).

So Fiat's US dealers are stuck with the aging 500 model and the 124 which means niche at best.
 

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Steve,
surely you're used to that lack of attention.. you ride a Guzzi :)
but seriously... does it really matter yeah it'd be nice to have the car we love promoted, but does it make us love the car any less?
Ya got that right!!! :crying:
I also own a Guzzi and it's not my 1st rodeo with Italian products. Sales, service, and customer support is not what Italian companies are best know for. What they do best is create objects of beauty. When VW Group who bought Ducati a few years ago they infused a bunch of $$ and German discipline in the dying marque, now Ducati is doing well, very well. CAn Chrysler do the same for Fiat..... hmmmm, time will tell.

If Fiat is to be successful enough to remain a player in the American market they must sell cars and a heck of a lot more then they do now, and they must make a profit if they are to be sustainable. Yes, they do want to do that and they must make a profit or they will once again wonder off into the wilderness as they did before. That will not be a good thing for owners. :(

Paul
 

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PS

I also came from a Guzzi.. and loved the "what the heck is that... " looks from everyone
like the exotic girl who walks into a party :)
 

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I get the feeling (having talked to my salesman) FIAT doesn't give a SH.. about selling its products. I think they make X amount of cars short of the demand. They had a section for Fiat, now it's like they have 2 cars in the corner, abandoned and there was a few demand for the Fiat X, and dealer not in a hurry ordering them. Too busy selling the Dodge vans and Pickups, where Chrysler is offering big discounts.
I think that's what's their bread and butter.

Anyway my Fiat salesman now sells Chrysler products and Fiat well it's a bothersome.
Your salesman is obviously a jack azz and if he gave you that impression he really should be let go. I find most salesman pretty much worthless anyway although there are a few good representatives of the brand.
 

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I understand fiat is appealing to a niche market, but there is a market in the u.s. there is a sub compact market here, just look at all the minis and other sub compact Toyotas and nissans. also there is a roadster market, look at the miata. their problem is with marketing. I have been driving my 124 for six months now and have yet to see another one on the roads here. I cannot count how many compliments I have received or recall how many times I have been asked what is it? more people seem to dispute whether it is really a Ferrari or a Porsche or a Maserati. with others thinking these are such premium vehicles, I think it only makes sense to market these as an affordable exotic. just my $ 0.02.......
 

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I don't understand Fiat's marketing either. They make a great car, and sometimes they come out with a good advertisement. I would argue that the Charlie Sheen Abarth ad is one of the best in a long time. However, overall, they just suck at marketing in the US. They have so much more they could be doing with the 124, like racing it, and using it's success in the few Rallys it's entered as sales or marketing tools, but they don't.

Greg
 

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Since the 124 spider came here in Quebec 15 months ago, I have not seen a TV commercial on the 124 spider. News paper yes with other Chrysler products but very faintly.

Was the agreement with Mazda that 124 spider goes into production, but no TV commercial for X years. It looks like Fiat's hands are tied when coming to promote the Spider.
 

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Another Guzzi owner here :)

Agree Fiat needs to sell more cars int he US in order to stay relevant. I wonder if they are waiting for their reliability ratings to improve before doing more advertising.

I have to think the reliability on the 124 will help since it's coming from the Mazda plant...

However, at the end of the day these cars should sell - because they look good, are fun to drive, are affordable and have a certain class that is hard to find elsewhere in this price range.
 

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The car is not going to sell itself. While well priced for a new car, it has to compete with similarly priced used cars. For example my wife wants me to consider current generation, low Milage, Certified BMW Z-4s at about the same price point or lower than a new Abarth.
 

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The car is not going to sell itself.
This is true. FCA has got to start promoting this car if they want it to succeed.
 
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A MAN WHO STOPS ADVERTISING TO SAVE MONEY IS LIKE A MAN WHO STOPS A CLOCK TO SAVE TIME.
Henry Ford

I love this quote. Perhaps FCA needs to get it together and not depend on US to advertise their product!
 

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The Fiat model line up is just not suited to North America - it's a model lineup designed for Europe (where they are doing pretty well), but what counts as volume models in Europe (Punto and Tipo - think Ford Fiesta and Focus respectively) are low volume in the US. FCA are going to stay focused on Chrysler / Dodge, with the big new push being Alfa (premium sedans and SUV's).

So Fiat's US dealers are stuck with the aging 500 model and the 124 which means niche at best.
US buyers want big cars with big engines and tons of power. This car will never be a darling for US buyers until gas prices skyrocket again and subsequently advertising dollars won't be there like the other platforms.
 
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Personally, I don't like driving a "me too" specialty car. Have not seen one in the wild yet and my "carvosations" at gas pumps and parking lots are a joy. People don't even know this beauty exists. Obsolete? Bring it. The cars will still sell to those who want something different.
 

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US buyers want big cars with big engines and tons of power. This car will never be a darling for US buyers until gas prices skyrocket again and subsequently advertising dollars won't be there like the other platforms.
This car was never intended to be the Darling of US Buyer.

First start comparing MX5 sales to 124 spider, Mx5 has sold much more, so the objective is to sell as many or more than the MX5

and that you do by advertizing the product. But they're not, so how do you expect to sell.
 

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I get the feeling that FCA is going to let FIAT wither on the vine here in North America. It's too bad, I think that they are great cars! Unique looking, fun to drive, and reliable. I wish FIAT success in North America, but it looks like they are not very committed.

The total lack of marketing has affected sales. The stand alone FIAT studios are shutting down because they can't survive selling 10 or 15 cars a month, and that's if they can even get the cars to sell. The Dodge, Ram, and Jeep dealers that are selling Fiats... Their Salesmen don't really want to sell you a FIAT, they want to sell you something with a Hellcat in it...

FIAT gets a bad rap in the press, and the absence of marketing leaves a void that is filled by all the bad press. I wish I had a dollar for every time I have been asked why I would buy a piece of crap fiat. Usually referring to my 500 or 500L, but I have also been asked that about the 124 as well. People have the impression that FIATs are unreliable, poorly made, and unsafe. Not to mention the effect FIAT's undeserved reputation has on depreciation.

I wish FCA would put half the effort into FIAT as they do in Dodge, Ram, and Jeep. Maybe, just maybe, Sergio will eventually stop focusing entirely on Ferrari and Alfa Romeo and put some effort into FIAT.

They are leaving a lot of money on the table. I think they would do well if they brought the FIAT Panda and Toro pickup truck to the North American market. (there are rumors about the Toro) Missed Opportunities... Of course, they won't sell either if they don't get them to the dealerships and market them...
 
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