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Fiat finally hits a home run with 500

Baby boomer: Fiat sold 182 examples of its 500 in June, the best sales result yet.

Price reshuffle a success for Fiat with record number of 500s sold in June

1 Aug 2013


S recent decision to re-launch the retro 500 city-car with a $14,000 drive-away entry price is paying dividends after it recorded its best ever Australian sales result since its 2008 launch.

Fewer than two months from the re-launch, Fiat’s Australian factory importer has sold out not just one Italian shipment of the re-born Bambino, but two.

Last month, it sold 182 units in Australia, a 304 per cent increase over the same month last year. Overall sales for the first six months of 2013 were up by 252 per cent with 518 units shifted.

The boom comes after Fiat’s range reshuffle last month, that included the introduction of a new entry-level 1.2-litre Pop variant from $14k drive-away - effectively more than $6000 cheaper than before - plus a more powerful new $16,900 Sport variant and a limited-run $23,200 Gucci edition.

Fiat reduced prices of other variants including the 0.9-litre two-cylinder TwinAir models in February this year, with the cabriolet version benefiting from a $5290 price cut for a new $22,700 price.

Fiat Chrysler Group director of corporate affairs Karla Leach said despite the increased demand for the 500, any waiting lists would be kept under control.

“The pipeline is full and there are lots of little Fiat 500s coming on their way out from Italy as we speak,” she said.

Ms Leach said some buyers may face a wait for their 500 in the coming months, but predicted it would not blow out beyond a month.

“There might be a small wait, but with most cars these days it’s quite rare you can buy one straight off the lot anyway so it’s a fairly palatable one, its not months and months because we have regular shipments coming through. Probably a couple of weeks, maybe three or four tops.”

While Ms Leach would not discuss ongoing sales targets for the 500, she said a trend would be more evident when July sales results are released in early August.

Meanwhile, Fiat’s LCV range has also seen a sharp increase in sales, with Fiat shifting 494 Ducato vans in the first six months of the year, a 74 per cent increase over the same period last year.

Fiat sold 108 examples of the smaller Scudo van between January and June this year, a 74 per cent leap over the 2012 result.

Ms Leach said this result was due in part to Fiat’s dealer expansion program that has seen the number of dealers increase from 11 when it took over distribution from Ateco Automotive in May last year to the 49 Fiat and Alfa Romeo sites it has now.

“The growth of Ducato in the motor home segment, to have that kind of footprint to be able to service those vehicles now gives people a really good reason to buy them because they are a fabulous car to buy from a motor home perspective but also from a commercial perspective,” she said.

“You’ve got it for your business and you have got the peace of mind that you can get it serviced.”

Fiat’s local LCV range is set to expand with the arrival of the Doblo small commercial van scheduled for release sometime next year, while the even smaller Fiorino compact van may get an Australian berth but it is yet to be confirmed.

Fiat’s overall local sales for the first six months of 2013 are up by 150 per cent with 1533 units sold compared to 614 for the first half of last year.

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