Speaking at the Geneva Motor Show, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne has hinted that Fiat’s future will centre around the 500 and Panda, at least in Europe. Whilst the Fiat 500 has grown somewhat, with the arrival of the 500x and 500L, the no nonsense Panda has remained the 5 door car, which ‘does exactly what it says on the tin’, in doing so Marchionne believes these two cars are the European choice for Fiat.
Speaking to Autocar, Marchionne surprised by saying “We can’t be emotional. I know Fiat has 100 years of heritage and so on, but the truth is that its relevance has shrunk. I understand that Fiat means a lot but its relevance in the marketplace is wrong. We need to make room for the emergence of the more powerful brands and protect the safety of the sales,”.
Whilst citing the 500 and Panda have a future, the Tipo isn’t necessarily part of it’s plans, Marchionne said “the Fiat Tipo – notwithstanding its sales success and the value that brings – I am less encouraged by, because that sector of the market is very crowded and not very profitable. It may have been a part of the market where Fiat traditionally stood, but perhaps we need to move on. I can even see that Latin America could be more relevant than Europe for the brand.”
Alfa Romeo and Maserati, as well as Jeep, are seen as far more attractive, with greater margins in sales, investment in these brands brings greater profit, and Marchionne is cautious of investing too heavily in models which compete in over crowded marketplaces. “We need to be careful that we don’t switch our focus to chasing the mass market in Europe at the expense of potentially higher-margin businesses.”
Marchionne is set to outline his plans for the FCA Group to investors on 1 June, when he and his management team will reveal their strategy for 2018 to 2022. Expected in the announcement is the demise of the Alfa Romeo MiTo, no longer seen as an attractive model for the brand, the production of the 4C is also to be confirmed as finishing this year.