The new year is right here so it is time for the best wishes and a quick outlook at the main events of the ending year. So here there is my quick analysis and predictions for the coming year.
- 2012 was the year in which roles changed: Fiat went from being the rescuer of Chrysler to become the rescued. Though the Italians don’t have any problems of cash, I just wonder what would be its situation if it wasn’t of Chrysler. Current European crisis hits the weakest auto makers and certainly Fiat is one of them. Fiat does not control the totality of Chrysler yet, and therefore it can’t access to its cash, but its position in automotive world is much stronger thanks to Chrysler results in America.
- Awesome performance of Chrysler in USA. It had the best sales’ growth among the 3 of Detroit. The interesting thing is that Chrysler made it without the help of any all-new model (except for the Dodge Dart). The result is mainly explained by the recovery of US car market and the great Marketing and Advertising campaign of the group.
- Brazil was again Fiat’s main market with excellent results. 2012 is the best year ever with a record month in August with more than 100.000 units delivered. However Fiat’s pole position began to be affected by the arrival of new and powerful players.
- As a global player, Fiat-Chrysler knows it must be present everywhere. 2012 was the year of the come back of the group to Chinese market. The JV with GAC allowed Fiat to start production of the Viaggio, based on the all-new Dodge Dart. The Dart is the first totally made car developed from zero by Chrysler and Fiat together. It is expected to hit both, American and Chinese market, and to arrive in Europe in 2013.
- Too bad for Fiat-Chrysler in India and Russia, the other key markets to become an important global player. In India Fiat decided to sell directly its cars and announced the introduction of Jeep brand. In Russia poor results for Fiat brand as they are waiting for the start of the construction of a plant along with Jeep models.
- As a part of Marchionne’s intentions of expanding the business, Mazda and Fiat agreed to start the production of their fist car together. Alfa Romeo will have its roadster back and Mazda will have a great successor for its great MX-5. And this may not be the last project together as both companies are interested on sharing costs for their future small cars. Fiat-Chrysler needs urgently a partner in Asia so it could become a real threat for Toyota and VW. The best candidates are Suzuki or Mazda.
- During the year the group presented the new Fiat 500L, the new Fiat Siena, the Lancia Flavia, Maserati Quattroporte, Ferrari F12, the Fiat Viaggio. They showed also the new Dodge Dart and Viper. The models to say goodbye were the Polish Fiat Panda, the Fiat Idea and Lancia Musa, the Alfa 159, Brera and Spider and Ferrari 599. The Dodge Caliber did also say goodbye, and so the Jeep Cherokee/Liberty and Dodge Nitro.
- The new year will be a difficult one for Fiat-Chrysler. The whole group is expected to sell 4.2 million from 4 million in 2012. The growth will come from Chrysler division in USA, where rise will continue but slower. Fiat will face tough times as Europe will continue to suffer and competition will get hard in Brazil. Good previsions indicate that European car market will perform as bad as 2012.
- Great expectations for the Viaggio in China. If all forecasts are met, this car would be the first of more models to be built locally. Jeep will start production of its SUV there.
- 2013 will be an important year for the future of Alfa Romeo. After many failures, the revival of the brand must work and will start in late 2013 with the introduction of the all-new 4C, which will be in charged of improving Alfa Romeo’s image in Europe and increase the brand’s awareness in America. In terms of sales, Alfa Romeo could face its worst year.
- Along with Alfa, Jeep will be also another protagonist of the group. Local production is expected to start in late 2013 in Italy and China, while it will be officially launched in India (imported only). Jeep is considered the only truly global brand of the group (besides Ferrari).
- In USA Fiat brand will increase its range of products with the introduction of the 500L made in Serbia. Fiat wants to replicate the success of the small 500, selling the minivan version everywhere. That’s why during 2013 lot of information should come from the small SUV they are building in Italy for both, Fiat and Jeep brands.
- In 2013 it is expected the presentation (which does not mean introduction) of Fiat 500XL (the 7 seater version of the 500L), the Fiat Viaggio for Europe, the Alfa Romeo 4C, the Maserati Ghibli and the successor of Ferrari Enzo. In America we will see the new C-hatchback for Chrysler and the successor of the 200, the new Jeep Cherokee and maybe the new Jeep Compass/Patriot. They may anticipate the next Chrysler Town & Country/Dodge Caravan, and the future mid-sized Dodge (Barracuda?). Meanwhile the Fiat Bravo and Lancia Delta will say goodbye. The same will happen to the Italian Lancia Ypsilon, current generation Maserati Quattroporte, and maybe Jeep Compass/Patriot.