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%.
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.
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”.
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