Last year Fiat presented its all-new midsize pickup Toro developed and built in Brazil for the emerging markets. This new car arrives when Brazilian car market plunges and the whole region faces tough times due to worse economic conditions. In 2015 Fiat brand sold 439,165 units, down by 37% or almost 259,000 fewer cars than the ones sold in 2014. The result is extremely bad because the fall was bigger than total market’s average (-26%) taking Fiat to a big market share lose: from 20.97% in 2014 to 17.73% in 2015.
Nevertheless, Fiat keeps its first position in the ranking by brands thanks to its huge range and its leadership in the pickup segment. But that’s not the worst part: the Brazilian new car market is expected to keep falling this year and this clearly represents a big threat to Fiat’s position and its global targets, considering the fact that it just started operations at its new plant in Pernambuco, in Northern Brazil. Fortunately the new plant has been busy producing the popular Jeep Renegade, which became the second best-selling SUV in the country during 2015. The new plant gets ready for its second model, the new Fiat Toro, a midsize pickup that was unveiled during the last quarter of 2015 and will be officially presented the 16 of February in Campinas (SP).
The Fiat Toro is a totally new car designed and created in Brazil that will take Fiat to an all-new segment. It’s larger and more capable than the popular Fiat Strada, still the best-selling pickup in South America, or the new Renault Duster Oroch, but smaller than the midsize traditional pickups such as the Toyota Hilux, Chevrolet S10 or VW Amarok. Therefore based on the price lists that have been circulating it will be more expensive than the popular small pickups and cheaper than the midsizes. There’s no other product with this characteristics and this is why Fiat may be entering in a risky situation. The outcome of this new bet could be a complete flop, or a success that would help the brand to offset the fall posted by the rest of the range. There are many reasons to believe that the Toro is going to be a hit.
Based on the pre-sales figures, the current waiting list to get the Toro goes up to 30 days. This may not be a big quantity of time but considering the current economic conditions, the industry may be anticipating what could be the hit of the year. The Toro plays in the land of no one, it doesn’t have direct rivals but at the same time it features the benefits of its smaller and larger rivals. It is exactly positioned in the middle of the two known segments from both, the price and capabilities points of view. The average price of all of its version is R88,000 (€20,200), while the smaller Renault Duster Oroch’s average price is R66,000 (€15,200), and the larger Toyota Hilux’s average is R141,000 (€32,400). The new Fiat is 4.91 m long against 4.70 m of the Renault and 5.26 m of the Toyota.
Last year the small pickup segment registrations fell by 33% with market share dropping from 8.18% in 2014 to 7.35% in 2015. The midsize pickups registrations fell 31% and their market share passed from 5.12% to 4.72%. The SUV was the only segment to grow (+10.4%) thanks to the small SUV, which counted for 60% of total SUV sales and posted a growth of 49% over 2014 results. The Jeep Renegade contributed to this growth and FCA was part of it. The Fiat Toro should replicate its success creating a new segment while total market continues to fall.