Skip to content

Among the problems with the Fiat 500

Thursday, 17 November, 2011
tags: ,

The car is good, or so they say. No conspicuous problems in the major logs of car problems. Even some of the dealers are non-evil. It’s pricey, but it is a more-or-less premium item. However you can get a bigger car with better fuel economy for the money. It is not yet cool over here.

Within the universe which is the arbiter of automotive coolness, both the 500 and the Abarth 500 are in the Sub-Zero section of the Cool Wall.

In America the first two television ads are the following:

With which the problem is attempting to generate an emotional appeal based on memories of a car that, effectively, never existed here. The entire scenario is peculiar and this remix of an old Elvis Presley song is grating and only serves to remind the audience how annoying their grandparents were.

If you want to present the car as retrolicous, please do so. However, it is not a product of days gone by, it is new, now with old-school Eurodesign and blah, blah, blah.

The focus of the ad is the action, not the car. Evidently these are clips from a music video during which you can’t really see the car either. Is “J-Lo” still a commodity? This ad has a very strong female appeal.

In America, two types of people don’t want to buy cars marketed to women.

  1. Women
  2. Men

This limits your marketing results dramatically. Look at the Mustang and the Jeep CJ and Wrangler. Both sell overwhelmingly, over seventy percent, to women. The marketing never concedes this. It is perfectly fine to actually target women for marketing purposes, but not so blatantly. In contrast the Ford Flex and Honda CR-V, allegedly quintessential Mom-mobiles, sell in similar percentages to men.

I find myself wondering just how many folks were putting on their trousers to go to the Fiat dealer in lieu of watching the crappy football games that Sunday when this ad appeared then they went to the ‘fridge for another beer.

All is not lost. The Abarth 500 is just around the corner. It was announced yesterday. Let’s look at the marketing.

This is an excellent short film. I can feel her implausibly warm breath as she whispers in his ear. Of course, I am presently in mad love with an Italian woman so I might take this differently. The first time I saw the ad, I managed to ignore the car. I would have done the set-up as a stand-alone, with this edit as a follow up.

However. The product is characterized as female. This is death. Especially in the shadow of the previous material.

Now let’s talk about inventory.

I thought the car was more successful than it is because I see at least one every day. I am told a disproportionate portion of these cars have been delivered through the local dealer. Therefore, I am seeing them because the car is very popular in this town. Inventories are building up.

The vast majority of cars sold thus far have been delivered with manual transmissions. This is a stick-uptake rate not seen since automatics were optional. The appeal of the car is a Euro driving experience, and a major part of that is three pedals. Dealers are beginning to push current inventory and that means automatics. People are walking away.

In the present market where people are, on the whole, buying cars only where their present vehicle is in dire straights, Fiat is turning casual buyers away because you must purchase from inventory and inventory must be automatic. Why automatic? People don’t buy cars with manual transmissions, that’s why. The dealer knows best. Not the manufacturer and certainly not the customer.

This is why the Fiat is stalling. I’d get two manual testers on every lot and butch up and Euro up the marketing, but what do I know.


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: