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As globalization forces many companies to operate everywhere, some automotive brands try to go global by introducing dedicated models in different markets. While some brands are not available in every single country, and some are even concentrated in a single region, those looking to play an important role must be present in as many markets as possible in order to survive.

Fiat has been a historic brand in Europe and Brazil. It has tried to expand its presence into other markets such as the United States, India, Russia, and China, but ultimately most of its operations take place in Europe and South America. Last year, these two regions accounted for 97 percent of its global sales. The first accounted for 57 percent, while the second accounted for 40 percent of the total. In the rest of the world, the brand has sold around 36,000 units, with no presence in China or India.

But Fiat's presence in Europe and South America is very different.

Motor1 Numbers Fiat

Opposite Results

Fiat is known worldwide for the production of practical and pretty small cars. At least, that's the positioning the brand has been working on for the past 20 years. However, there are big differences between public perception in Italy and Brazil, its two largest markets. Brand positioning is also extremely different.

In Italy, where Fiat sold 21 percent of all vehicles last year, the brand is facing difficult times. While the Panda and 500 continue to lead the market and are the benchmark for the A segment, the rest of the range can barely compete with the other mainstream brands. The brand left segment B when it retired the Punto, although this segment still accounts for 21 percent of total registrations up to August.

The Tipo represented 11 percent of the total in the C segment, behind the Volkswagen Golf and the Audi A3. And in the B-SUV segment where the 500X lives, in the first eight months of this year it was overtaken by the Ford Puma and the Jeep Renegade. In total, Fiat's market share in the Italian passenger car market was 14.3 percent. Five years ago, in 2017, its market share was 20.1 percent and 30 years ago it was almost 32 percent.

Motor1 Numbers Fiat

The situation is very different in Brazil, its largest market in 2021. Fiat is not only a leader, but has managed to maintain its market share despite the lack of SUVs (the Pulse and Fastback were recently introduced) and the arrival of Jeep in this market. This year, Fiat's market share remained stable at 22 percent. Five years ago it was 13 percent and in 2012 it was 23 percent.

Appeal Carioca

Part of the explanation is due to public perception. Fiat is considered the ideal car to buy for the Brazilian public thanks to its low maintenance costs and strong service presence across the country. Finally, it is still considered a cool brand thanks to the continuous presence of new models.

Fiat Brazil has launched five different models in the past five years. In fact, the average age of the Brazilian range (excluding vans) is 3.4 years. By contrast, Fiat Italia offers six different models whose average age from the year of introduction on the market is 8.7 years.

The last time the Italian division of this brand introduced a completely new model was in 2020, when the Fiat 500e was presented. Before that, Fiat introduced the Tipo and the 500X in 2015.

Motor1 Numbers Fiat

Innovation, consistency in product launches, and connection with consumer needs make Fiat Brasile an example for the other divisions of the brand.

The author of the article, Felipe Munoz, is JATO Dynamics Automotive Industry Specialist. 

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