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Fiat sharpens 500X price

Jeep thrills: Fiat’s 500X has followed the lead of its cousin, the Jeep Renegade, with a range-wide price reduction to invigorate slow sales.

New marketing approach and $26,000 driveaway price targets fresh Fiat 500X audience

Fiat logo11 Aug 2016

By DANIEL GARDNER

FIAT has hacked $2000 from the driveaway price of its entry-level 500X and $1000 from its three more luxo variants to capture a greater chunk of the compact SUV segment that has eluded it to date.

The price reduction takes the entry-level 500X Pop two-wheel drive manual to $26,000 driveaway and brings the asking price into line with the popular Honda HR-V and Mitsubishi ASX (both $24,990 before on-road costs).

Mazda’s CX-3 continues to dominate the segment with an untouchable $19,990 starting price, but with a range-wide 500X price reduction and an accompanying promotional campaign, the Italian car-maker says it can claim a greater stake of the market.

The list price of all three 500X variants above the Pop have been cut $1000 before on-road costs, with the Pop Star auto now $32,000, the four-wheel drive Lounge costing $37,000 and the range-topping Cross Plus AWD at $38,000.

Speaking to GoAuto, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Australia marketing and product strategy director Zac Loo said the pricing revision positions the 500X more effectively in the highly competitive segment.

“We know that it’s a fantastic car, and when customers are in the showroom they value the design and the appearance of the car, but obviously we are in one of the most competitive car markets in the world and price drives a part of the consideration,” he said.

Mr Loo said FCA had worked cooperatively with Fiat dealers to find the most competitive price.

“This is a great car and it should make the shopping list of anyone looking at a small-sized SUV,” he said.

While Fiat’s previous marketing activities have focused on a relatively wide spectrum of customers, Mr Loo said that since the model was launched late last year, the company had a greater understanding of 500X customers, and that future campaigning would be more targeted.

“From the initial buyers that we’ve had, we know that there is a different type of buyer looking at this car. It’s someone who values the design story, the history and the value of the Fiat nameplate.

“From our perspective we are also working on a campaign that is more heavily targeted after that type of buyer.

“We’re looking at which channels are the most appropriate to tell that story and making sure that we are more present, not just in TV but also heavily in digital and other mediums.”

Fiat’s so-called blue pill advertising campaign had been effective, said Mr Loo, but the company was working on a new promotional strategy that captured customers who value European brands and are looking for a more emotional connection to their vehicle.

“People aren’t going to buy this car because there is a super sales event on, it’s more about finding and discovering,” he said.

“There’s definitely a profile that we can work to, which isn’t always the case, and that’s what we are going to focus more heavily on as we move through the rest of the year – making sure the audience that is most receptive is the one we are talking to the loudest.”

While many marques in the segment trade on specification, price and quality equations, Mr Loo said Fiat was the only one that could throw Italian styling and historical value into the bargain.

“Consumers are always looking for choice and options and we stand at the top of the pack when it comes to the design and heritage story that some of the other competitors can’t offer.”

The revised price and different advertising approach is intended to invigorate sales of the car-maker’s little high-rider, but Mr Loo said the company have never intended to launch the 500X as model to dominate the compact crossover market.

“Obviously we always want as many sales as we can get, but we are not about just driving pure volume at the expense of everything else,” he said.

The price reductions follow a similar exercise in the Jeep Renegade range in June, which shares a platform with the Fiat 500X, as well as the same base price following the Fiat line-up revision.

To the end of July, the 500X had found 333 Australian homes, the Jeep Renegade did marginally better with 585, but the figures pale when compared with Mitsubishi’s ASX, which managed 9905, the Nissan Qashqai (7477) and the clear leader Mazda CX-3 with 11,116 registrations.

2016 Fiat 500X revised pricing
Pop 2WD$26,000ˆ (-$2000)
Pop Star 2WD (a)$32,000* (-$1000)
Lounge 4WD (a)$37,000* (-$1000)
Cross Plus 4WD (a)$38,000* (-$1000)
ˆDriveaway
*Excludes on-road costs

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