The good, the bad and the ugly of FCA results in 2014

Front grill of a 2014 Chrysler Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk is seen on display outside Chrysler World Headquarters during the FCA Investors Day in Auburn HillsIn 2014 FCA has shined for its big announcements, outperforming results (some brands), and specific problems. This is an outlook of the most important facts.

The good

  • Jeep Cherokee debut: when Chrysler revealed its first official pictures, most of the critics and comments were really negative. People didn’t like how it looked, they hated its headlights. Nevertheless, the Cherokee proved to be a success since its early beginning when Jeep was able to deliver more than 10.000 units in its first full month and rise that quantity up to 16.000 during the best months of this year. In Jan-Jul 2014, it was USA’s third best-selling mid-size SUV, after the Chevrolet Equinox and Jeep Wrangler. In Canada it outsold all of its rivals in June (except for the Wrangler).
  • The Fiat 500 uninterrupted success: despite its age, the iconic Fiat continues to gain more and more clients in Europe. The brand has done an excellent job updating its versions with better interior features, new colors and great adv campaigns. That’s why the 500 ranked 3rd in Italian list in Jan-Jul, increasing its registrations by 18%. In the UK, the small Fiat occupies place #9 in Jan-Jul/14, up 2 positions compared to 2013 FY results. The improvement is even better in France, where it is now the 20th best-selling model, up 8 positions. It is also the best-selling city-car in Spain, increasing its sales by a massive 51%. In the Netherlands it is now the 16th best-selling car (one year ago it was the 20th). The Fiat 500 was Europe’s 12th best-selling car during the first half of this year, increasing its sales by 15% and becoming the best-selling city-car. The good thing is that it isn’t only a matter of the 500 only, as the 500L minivan keep advancing in many European rankings. European sales jumped 51% in the first half of this year, allowing to occupy place # 37 and quite ahead of its closest competitor, the Opel/Vauxhall Meriva, up 2%.
  • Fiat Palio and Strada reign in Brazil and Argentina: the popular Fiat was able to lead both markets during the last months in both markets. It even outsold the popular VW Gol and Fiat Uno and has become a good option in Argentina’s disaster. If it weren’t because of the Palio, Fiat would be in a more difficult situation now. In Jan-Jul/14 the Palio is behind the Gol only by 9.500 units but it also faces tough competition from GM and Hyundai. In the case of the Strada, its continuous updates and improved versions allow it to rank first among small pickups by far. Registrations in Brazil advanced a healthy 21%. Fiat still reigns in Brazil, and now occupies second place in Argentina with a record market share of 13,3%, outselling Ford, Renault and Chevrolet, and still behind VW.
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee boom in minor markets: this Jeep managed to enter the top-10 best-selling cars in Australia and now it is the 15th best-selling YTD model. In Europe the model allowed Jeep to be the fastest-growing brand in the first half, up 44% to 16.000 units. The Grand Cherokee counted for half of that, up 63%.
  • Maserati’s boom: the brand sold more than 17.000 units in the first half of this year. Thanks to the Ghibli the brand increases its global registrations with records such as the USA’s with more than 1100 units sold in only one month (in May and July 2014).

The good FCA

The bad

  • The Panda doesn’t shine anymore: what used to be Europe’s best-selling city-car is now facing a stagnation period. This car is Italy’s best-selling model, but it doesn’t play an important role in any of the European major markets. Even if it is younger than the 500 (current Panda was launched in December 2011, while the 500 was launched in July 2007), the 5-door city-car is now more expensive than the previous generation, and faces tougher competition thanks to the relative success of the VW Up! (a flop in Southern Europe), and the new Hyundai i10. Things will get even more complicated due to the new Renault Twingo (5-door now) and the new Peugeot 108/Citroën C1/Toyota Aygo.
  • Fiat Uno’s downfall: the case of the small Fiat for Latin America is even worse than the Panda’s. It used to be Fiat’s best-selling model for many years. This year its sales have fallen a massive 37% to occupy place # 5 (when 1 year ago it occupied second place). In Jan-Jul/14 Fiat sold 71.000 units, against 112.000 in the same period of 2013. In Jan-Jul/12 the brand sold 147.000 Unos. The reason: higher prices due to safety reasons and a new competitor: VW Up!. The Palio Fire can be another reason as its price is sometimes lower than the Uno’s, but it is still a bigger car.
  • Chrysler group sedan sales: the good news coming from NAFTA are directly related to the SUV, MPV and Trucks segments. The passenger car segments don’t contribute to the sales growth. Chrysler division is now having problems with the 300 as it gets old (-10% YTD). Dodge struggles with the Avenger (-33%), Charger (-3%) and the Dart (-11%). The new Chrysler 200 and the updated Charger are supposed to change this negative trend.

The bad FCA

The ugly

  • Lack of new cars: specially in Europe, the group barely presents all-new cars at the same level its competitors do. In Europe Fiat brand revealed the 500L in 2012, the 500L Living in 2013 and this year the 500X. Only one new car per year. Alfa Romeo presented the 4C in 2013 and then nothing. Jeep is a bit more active thanks to the Cherokee (2013) and the Renegade (2014). In USA, the group presented the Cherokee and the 500L only. This year they showed the Chrysler 200 and that’s it. No new cars in Brazil since the presentation of the Palio in 2012 (the 2014 Strada is just an update).
  • Alfa Romeo registrations continue to fall: despite the refreshed versions of the MiTo and Giulietta and the enormous visibility of the 4C in all media channels, the brand faces one of its toughest times ever. In Jan-Jul/14 its sales dropped in many countries in Europe: Italy -12%, France -12%, Germany -6% and improved in the UK (+4%, against +10% overall market) and Spain (+15% against +17% overall market). In Europe its sales fell 9% in the first half to 33.000 units. Notice that Maserati sold 17.000 units in the same period in the whole world.
  • Fewer profits from LATAM and NAFTA: in the latest quarterly financial report, Fiat confirmed that its divisions in the Americas were less profitable than one year ago. EBIT fell 18% in NAFTA and 72% in LATAM! The group blamed marketing expenses in NAFTA and devaluation reasons in LATAM for the bad results.

 

Source: Carsitaly.net, bestsellingcarsblog.com, Fenabrave, Good Car Bad Car, fiatspa.com

 

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