Normally, when people think of Fiat they see cheap and small cars with some reliability problems. It is a bad image the brand created some years ago when its cars had a lot of quality problems. To say that this doesn’t happen anymore wouldn’t be right as there are still some specific problems with some of its cars (as I think it happens with all brands, Germans included). It is not my intention to start a discussion about Fiat cars’ reliability, but things have changed in the last years and the Fiat 500 is the best example of it. It didn’t only become the product that saved Fiat from bankruptcy in 2007, but it is the very first global Fiat that is popular in almost every market where it is introduced. Behind this success there is a team working for offering the best city-car to satisfy the requirements of people from all over the world. Their work is simply amazing: so many prizes, recognitions, sales records, social media followers (1,2 million in Facebook), and many happy drivers, as it can be confirmed with the latest survey I published some weeks ago.
Even if it is not a big survey with big results (39 people answered it), it is a good example to understand the success of this small Fiat. The survey was made by some friends studying a MSc Business Development in Grenoble École de Management, in France. They were trying to understand what was behind the success of an iconic product such as the 500, and here there are the main highlights of the results:
- Composition by gender: male 82% vs female 18%. This is contrary to what most people say in the sense that the 500 is more a female car.
- The age of the drivers is also an interesting thing: the car is mostly driven by young, middle age and old people. 18% were between 18-25 years old, 18% were between 41-45 y/0, and 18% had more than 65 years. As it happens to the Panda, the universe of people driving the 500 is very opened and it can’t be said that it is a vehicle for young people only.
- The survey revealed something that isn’t quite logical: 61% of the drivers are married against 32% never married. The 500 is known for being the right car for single people or couples as it is a very small car with little room for the passengers in the back.
- Curiously, only 51% of users said not to have any children against a massive 49% that do have. This isn’t normal.
- From those who specified their location, 48% live in USA, 20% in Italy, 8% in Canada, and 8% in Argentina. Other countries include Belgium, Colombia and Panama.
- Most of them (49%) live in the suburbs, and only 10% live in the countryside. The 500 is a city-car.
- 41% of drivers declared to earn from $1000 to $3000/month. Those earning more than $7000 counted for 22%, which is also interesting, as the car isn’t exclusively an option for those with middle-income, but it is also considered by those earning more money (a second car?)
- STYLE & DESIGN is the best rated feature of the 500. It is followed by PERFORMANCE and FEATURES AND INSTRUMENTAL PANEL. In the opposite side, COMFORT was the feature with the worst result. REPUTATION/BRAND was also among the items to be evaluated and here the worst grade (6) gained with 27% of votes, followed by 5 (22%), 1 (the best result) with 19%, 3 (16%), 2 (14%) and 4 (3%). In other words, drivers decided to buy their 500 because of the way it looks, and most of them didn’t think the brand was a trigger. The 500 is more product than brand.
- When asking users about their experience/satisfaction with some items of the car the answers are: STYLE (Interior/exterior) is the best rated item as 87% of drivers think they are ‘very satisfied’ with it. 58% of them are also very satisfied with the FEATURES AND INSTRUMENT PANEL. The same answer was the most popular when asking about PERFORMANCE. In terms of COMFORT and POST SALE SERVICES, most of the drivers said to be ‘Satisfied’. Generally speaking, most of the drivers are satisfied with all the items evaluated of the car.
- 65% of them customized their Fiat 500. From those that didn’t do it, 62% would consider to do it. Customization is one of the key success of the Fiat 500, no doubt on that.
And the best of all: ‘Would you recommend the Fiat 500 to potential buyers?’: 100% said yes!!
Thanks to my friend Santiago Alvarez for sharing the results