Fiat Palio, the most produced car in Argentina

The new Palio is produced also in Argentina since April 2012

The new Palio is produced also in Argentina since April 2012

Good news come from South America. In November 2012 the new Fiat Palio was Argentina’s most manufactured car. All car makers produced 78.000 units, 3.2% more than previous November, but 1.8% down compared to October 2012. YTD production is down 9.4% to 703.472 units, making of Argentina the third largest producer in Latin America and above other important markets such as Italy. In that month the new generation Palio was the most produced car over there with almost 6.000 units. Fiat produced more Palios than traditional leaders like the Ford Focus (5.115) and Chevrolet Agile (5.090). Most of this production is headed to Brazil, where the demand of this car is growing up so fast that is getting close to Fiat’s best-seller Uno (November YTD indicates that Palio demand is up  81%). In Argentina the new Palio is also very popular but as a big part of local production is sold out in Brazil, Fiat can’t supply the demand and people must wait for months to get their car. That’s why the demand for Argentinian market is so weak (up only 4.1%). The new Palio is being produced in Cordoba, Argentina, since April 2012. At the beginning they produced around 200 units per day but they want to increase it up to 500 units. The car is produced with 3 different engines: 1.4 Evo, 1.0 Flex and 1.4 Flex for Brazilian market. Initial target was to produce 60.000 units of both, Siena and Palio, by the end of the year. YTD November figures show that Fiat has produced 66.682 cars. They made it but 2012 numbers are far away from last year results. In 2011 Fiat produced 110.000 units, with the Siena counting for 78%. Among all car makers in Argentina, Fiat is the one with the deepest fall in production, down 39%. VW is down 12%, GM -6%, and Ford -13%.

Argentinian industry is down 9% due to less local demand and economic problems regarding exchange rate and inflation. Fiat's share is 9.5% compared to 9.8% of demand market share. Source: ADEFA

Argentinian industry is down 9% due to less local demand and economic problems regarding exchange rate and inflation. Fiat’s share is 9.5% compared to 9.8% of demand market share. Source: ADEFA

More news

Fiat Brazil has announced that double airbag, ABS and EBD are now standard for the entry version of the Uno. This is a response to two facts: from January 2014 all cars produced in Brazil must count on this features. And secondly, because the Uno is losing market share and its sales continue to drop. Fiat wants to increase the competitiveness of the model just as it did with other versions of it (the Way and Economy) and Fiat Strada Working in October. The price of the car rises R $1.000 (US$480): Novo Uno Vivace 1.0 3P (US$12.150) and Novo Uno Vivace 5P (US$12.960). The demand of this model has fallen 5% so far this year.

Two airbags, ABD and EBD are now standard in entry version of the Uno

Two airbags, ABD and EBD are now standard in entry version of the Uno

Yesterday Maserati launched the new Quattroporte in Nice, France. The car was presented officially to specialized press in an event hosted by Maserati’s CEO, Harald Wester. According to him, Maserati expects to sell 13.000 units of this new flagship next year (prices start around 145.000 euro). USA will count for a big part as they want to make use of 2.300 Chrysler dealerships all over the country. The Quattroporte is the first step of a 2015 goal of selling 50.000 Maseratis worldwide annually. Then will come the SUV Levante (aka Kubang) and a smaller sedan, the Ghibli. Finally, by the year 2015 the new GranTurismo and GranCabrio will make their debut (they are expected to be lighter and may use Alfa Romeo 4C base). Maserati sold 6.159 cars last year, and the fact they want to sell 8 times more in just 3 years makes some analysts not to believe it. IHS, a specialized provider of diverse global market and economic information, said that Maserati could sell 28.100 cars by that year. Others, like Euromonitor, think that the brand has the right reputation and clients coming from USA and China, but the target is “incredibly ambitious”.

Maserati wants to sell 13.000 units of its new flagship next year. Photo by:

Maserati wants to sell 13.000 units of its new flagship next year. Photo by:

Fiat has announced it will lay off around 1.500 workers, a third of its workforce, at its factory in Tychy, Poland. It is a response to lower demand of the cars produced over there. Fiat is the largest car producer in Poland and in 2009 they manufactured 600.000 units and this year it is expected to be under 350.000 cars. Volume for next year is expected to be around 300.000 units. Currently Fiat Poland produces the 500 for European and some Asian markets, its twin from Ford, the Ka, the second generation Panda and the new Ypsilon. However by the end of this month the Panda output will be halted forever as the new model completes one year in the market. The reduction of production levels is a fact expected by many as Fiat decided to move the production of the best-seller Panda to Italy. By that time Fiat said nothing would had happened to Poland output as the new Ypsilon was going to be produced in return. Nevertheless the Ypsilon is a popular car but only in Italy and now faces tough times with sales drop of 17% so far this year. It also means that Fiat may not be considering Poland for making its next C-Segment (aka Fiat Viaggio hatchback) for European market. Turkey or Serbia are in mind?

Source: ADEFA, Autoesporte, Automotive News Europe

Colombian market, next step on Fiat LATAM plans

Fiat Latin America has become one of most dynamic divisions of the group. The continent was along with North America, the big two regions to increase revenues in the third quarter of 2012, according to the latest report. Most of Latinamerican economies keep growing no matter the turbulence in developed world. Its young population grows as middle class becomes the largest one in countries like Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile. Other countries, like Mexico or Colombia, deal with their own problems but their economies show that sustained growth is possible. Fiat-Chrysler is one of top 3 carmakers of the region as it is the leader in Brazil and one of top 5 in Argentina and Mexico, the largest car markets in Latin America. Their continuous investments in those countries (a second Brazilian plant is expected for 2014) and the development of products exclusively for them, allowed Fiat, in Brazil and Argentina, and Chrysler, in Mexico, to gain an interesting market share. The three markets counted for 80% of total region’s car sales and they are expected to keep growing in the next years as most of their population doesn’t have a car yet, according to new-cars-sold/1000 inhabitants index. Last year’s figures shows that Argentina was the country with the highest index with 20.3 new cars/1000 inhabitants. That result is really far from developed markets like USA with 40.7 or Europe 36.2 new cars/1000 inhabitants. Brazil occupied third position (17.7) and Mexico is in place number 8*. It shows not only how low car sales numbers are compared to total population but also the enormous potential the whole region has in coming years.

Latin America’s car industry 2011. No matter its strong growth in the last years, there is still a big potential as a big part of the population lacks of car. Colombia, strategically located, occupies place # 3 in terms of population but # 5 in car sales figures. Source: GDP per capita, Banco Mundial; Cars/1000p, Banco Mundial; ALADDA

But the region is not only Brazil, Argentina and Mexico. There are other markets that may be small now but can become really attractive in the future as they have big populations and stable economies. Colombia is a good example. It is Latinamerica’s third largest populated country (47 million inhabitants) and a fast and stable economy that seems to keep attracting foreign investment. The strategic location of this country, just in the middle of the Americas with two shores in Atlantic and Pacific oceans, makes of it an ideal place for making business. It is a country with so many problems but it is also full of opportunities: a small but rising middle class that will be enlarged thanks to better economic and political conditions. Besides, it has become ‘the other Chile’ in terms of free trade agreements and an open economy. Last governments have signed several trade agreements with lots of countries allowing Colombian market to receive goods and services with less import taxes and at the same time to export its products to countries like Mexico, South Korea, Canada, USA, Chile, Peru, Turkey and Russia. Now it is easier to import cars in Colombia and much easier for Colombians to buy them as prices decreased thanks to lower taxes and a stable currency exchange. Last year a record of 325.000 cars were sold there, more than Swedish, Swiss or Polish markets and close to Austrian one. However, it was the region’s fifth largest market no matter it is the third largest population. ALADDA index shows that Colombia occupies 9th place with only 7 new vehicles/1000 inhabitants, which explains how big the market can be in coming years. It is why it could be considered as one of the most competitive ones (along with Chile): not only the traditional car makers from Europe, Japan/Korea and American brands are present but also Chinese and Indian have an important role.

This year Colombian market is expected to stabilize at around 330.000 units. The market is mainly dominated by Korean products from Chevrolet, Hyundai and Kia and locally produced cars from Chevrolet and Renault-Dacia. Fiat’s share has been always low but they want to increase it with a wider range of products coming from Brazil, Mexico, Serbia and Italy. Source: Revista Motor, FGW Data

Fiat sells its cars through an important distributor (Colitalia Autos S.A.) with several dealerships all over the country. Thanks to their long experience with the brand in Venezuela, they are now investing a lot in Colombian market as they see it as a great opportunity. As I’ve been saying, Fiat can not depend on only one or two markets in a region full of opportunities. It can’t do the same what happened in Europe with Italy, where its strong dependence affects its operations in that continent. What Fiat guys from Colombia are doing is a good example of diversification of sales and pointing at an interesting market that can become important for global Fiat-Chrysler. A proof of their commitment with Colombian market is what they just did in Colombia’s largest auto show, the XIII Salon Internacional del Automovil of Bogotá. The event, that takes place from November 14th to 24th, is an interesting show of what all car makers with operations in Colombia can do. No matter there are other more important auto shows in the region in terms of public media and presentations, Bogota’s event has become the place for big business and unexpected presentations. One of it was the first presentation of Fiat 500L in the Americas. For the first time the new B-MPV from Fiat crossed the Atlantic ocean for its first official appearance in Colombia. It was all possible thanks to Colitalia’s effort to make of Fiat’s stand one of the best of the show. Along with highly innovative interactive technologies and design, Fiat’s show included the very first appearance of the new Panda in South America, and the introduction of the new Grand Siena, coming from Brazil. In terms of quality of the presentation, Bogota’s stand is not far from what we normally see in Geneva or Sao Paulo. Of course, the 500L and Panda are just Show cars looking to increase Colombians’ awareness.

Fiat’s stand at Salon Internacional del Automovil of Bogota. The new Grand Siena will be one of the stars of the exhibition.

The importance that Fiat and its local representative gives to Colombian market is not only a matter of a show. Next week it is expected the visit of important Fiat LATAM executives and the plans for coming months are full of launches. In 2013 they will introduce the Serbian 500L just after Fiat does it in USA. Then the new Palio and Siena will make their debut to compete in the tough Colombian ‘B-Segment’. Meanwhile they keep selling the Mexican 500, which has become really popular in Colombia thanks to its attractive mix of price-product. Colitalia will also introduce the Abarth 500. For the entry-level, they are negotiating a product that could have a very competitive price (around $12.000 or 9.500 euro) but nothing is for sure yet. Their idea is to offer different products for each segment so they can gain more market share. According to confidential sources all these future products will allow Fiat to achieve its forecast for next year: 3.000 units or 1% of the market. It means 43% more than 2012 forecast, which will be boosted by 320 units expected to be sold in Bogota’s auto show. Thanks to a responsible work, strong commitment and several marketing strategies, such as social networks contests, the brand will be able to achieve a better market share and awareness among Colombians and at the same time look to expand Fiat’s domination in this important region. Good for that.

For Bogota’s auto show they took the Uno Cabrio concept and one Italian Panda as show cars.

The new Fiat 500L made its debut in the Americas with the presentation in Colombia. Will be available next year

A great stand with innovative features allowing more interaction with visitors. Good for the image and positioning of the brand

The whole 500 family is present in the event. Even the Abarth version is presented as a show car and available from next year.

Alfa Romeo is also present in Colombian market. The TCT gearbox helped to boost its sales during the last months.

*ALADDA index, Asociación Latinoamericana de Distribuidores de Automotores