The Bravo is a weird case. It is a beautiful car, full of interesting features, and good engines. It isn’t the most expensive either. But it has 2 main problems: its Fiat logo, and the lack of more bodytypes. Fiat as a brand is not strong in larger segments than ‘B’ one, and the poor results of the Bravo are the best example of that. In 2012 the brand sold around 28.000 units of the Bravo all over the world. That’s nothing for a compact car that’s produced in 2 different plants. Despite its global positioning (the Bravo is sold in Europe, MERCOSUR, Middle East, and China), its Italian and Brazilian registrations counted for 76% of the total. Even there, where Fiat plays as local, the Bravo is a complete flop. In its 5th commercial life year total sales dropped 36% circa, and the worse part is that there isn’t a clear successor when the car’s production will stop in 2013 (at least in Italy).
The best result in terms of share within C-segment comes from Italy, where the Bravo controlled 7% of it. In Brazil, where Fiat started production in 2010, the Bravo owns only 2,6% of the segment. The third largest market for the Bravo is Poland, ahead of the disaster in Germany and France. Registrations fell in 18 out of 19 countries analyzed, while it had a very slow start in Argentina where the Bravo, imported from Italy, was introduced. This will be the final commercial year for the Italian Bravo at its Cassino plant, and it is expected the introduction of a car using the Fiat Viaggio’s base adapted for European market. There is no official information about and not even about the possible dates but it is my belief that this car won’t see the light in 2013. Anyway the real successor of the Bravo will come in some years (2015?) when Fiat will present a compact crossover to compete with the Qashqai.
Source: Best Selling Cars Blog, Data House, Fiat Group’s World Data Basis
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I beleive that the fact that Fiat brand is not succesfull in segments beyond be is not a reason but a result. Fiat is not succesful because Fiat has not been a persistent player in those segments. Segment C is a very challenging segment with nameplates like Golf, Astra, Focus, Megane doninating it for decades. Look, on the other hand, at Fiat’s strategy: 3 nameplates in 2 decades from Tipo/Tempra to Stilo and Bravo. Lack of a persistent strategy is the number 1 reason for failure. Then comes compromises in brand strategy such as limited communication support and initial over positioning in some markets. The profuct itself was good but it wasn’t marketed with enough resources and conviction. My 2 liras.
I think one needs to add the fact that since the Stilo was such a flop, Fiat needed to bring something truly outstanding to the table to convince the customers it lost because of that car to give Fiat another chance. And unfortunately, the Bravo, despite its excellent and class-leading exterior design, was simply not up to the task, even though it was a very competent effort.
I did think, though, that a future Bravo successor with much improved Giulietta underpinnings would have a much better chance at regaining C segment buyers than the current Bravo. However, it seems Fiat has now chosen the half-hearted approach by either replacing the Bravo with a rebadged Dodge Dart hatch or, even worse, not replacing the Bravo at all (or sacrificing the Bravo successor for a ridiculous Qashqow-style crossover, the quintessential “me-too” vehicle, even though Marchionne once insisted the Bravo successor would not be a “me-too” vehicle).
So Fiat is essentially giving up on the C segment, ceding even more market share to Volkswagen – a mistake, in my opinion.
Anyway the real successor of the Bravo will come in some years (2015?) when Fiat will present a compact crossover to compete with the Qashqai.
Wrong, a Qashqow-like Fiat will not be a Bravo successor as such, it will be a case of Fiat abandoning one segment in favour of another – just like Nissan did with the Almera.
How does the sales numbers of the Bravo compare to those of the Lancia Delta, by the way? As the Bravo-based Delta is not a runaway success either from what I’ve heard.
If you ask me, I think that Fiat is getting screwed. Just saying. I like Fiat too, it’s my favorite brand but i think this is gonna be a slow and painfull death for Fiat if the plan for 2015/16 doesn’t work out.
What is it about the Fiat badge which puts everyone bar Italians and Brazilians off considering a Fiat mid sized car?
In the UK in 2012 SEAT sold 13,278 (previous) Leon – a car which also was only a 5 door hatch and older than its Fiat equivalent.
Fiat sold only 349 Bravos, a massive difference (but still its tenth biggest market).
I think the Bravo suffers from many things. A very average chassis, not the most practical or spacious offering in the class, a lack of variants such as wagons and high performance hot hatches. To me it looks like Fiat made a half hearted effort with the Bravo. The Giulietta chassis is class competitive. The next Bravo should be a more spacious Giulietta in my opinion and the Giulietta itself should be taken further up market. The Bravo – they probably will have to change the name, should have SW and SUV (why not re-skin and re-size the Cherokee with Italian Styling, 2wd and 4wd and Italian engines?) and variants. But I sincerely hope they don’t try to put the 500 style on such a big car. If Hyundai and Kia can offer competitive cars in the C-segment why can’t Fiat do so? It’s a matter of proper effort. Juan Felipe any chance of a comparison of how Fiat has steadily lost market share in the C segment starting with say the Ritmo, Tipo, Brava, Stilo, Bravo? I’m sure it won’t make a pretty picture.
The problem with the Bravo is that people don’t think of Fiat when they want a larger car than B-Segment. That’s the true, and Fiat may launch the best car of the segment but if the awareness and image are not changed, then it will be a flop again.
The analysis you propose is very interesting. I will try to get some data, even if I think is very difficult to find information about the market by segments in the past.
And why is that? It’s because Fiat have offered uncompetitive products for decades in that segment. And then what people think can be changed, right? I mean a a decade ago Kia was a budget brand but today it’s an alternative to a Ford or an Opel and their C-segment cars are rated better than Fiats. How did that happen? With huge improvements in quality, styling, engineering and above all marketing. If they can do a transformation why can’t Fiat?
If [Kia] can do a transformation why can’t Fiat?
I agree, that’s why I don’t understand why Fiat doesn’t make more of an effort. We already know, from the Giulietta, that Fiat is able to make a great C segment car, so the reason Fiat doesn’t make one with the Fiat brand has to be either because it lacks the will, the confidence and/or the money to do so – my guess is it’s the money that’s the problem. But can Fiat really afford not to have a competitive C segment car in the long run? I don’t think so.
Maybe is a bit of everything. Let’s hope that with the integration with Chrysler, things come better
The Giuiletta has the “exact” same chassis as the mark 2 Bravo. Also the Bravo came in 3 high performance variants.i.e…..the 1.4 T-jet & 1.9 Multijet 150 Sport both engines pumping out (150 bhp) and ..0 to 60 in 8.5 sec and also a 165 bhp 2.0 diesel version
Fiat: Just as you think it’s gone, it comes back but always a bit better. 😉
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What has happened with the plan to import the Viaggio hatch from China? If it is still on, then Fiat could be devaluing the brand further by offering a Chinese built car to compete with Euro built cars.
Hopefully it’s been axed, because as you point out, it would devalue the Fiat brand.
I do think Fiat should offer the Viaggio (hatch and/or sedan) in Europe, but it would have to be built in the US or Europe.
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