Speaking to CarAdvice at the launch of the new Fiat 500X in Sydney this week, the boss of Fiat Chrysler Australia, Pat Dougherty, said the new model will help Fiat sell some ‘decent volume’.
“I think that with the 500x, Fiat is going to well and truly put itself in a position of selling some decent volume,” Dougherty said.
“Before we had this funky energetic 500 but it’s small, it’s in the A, B segment and it doesn’t work for everybody and now we have a vehicle that moves up and now all of a sudden if you look in terms of size we are competing for a much larger piece of pie, at least 40 per cent of the buyer. So I see a lot of growth and I see a lot of dealers getting behind it.”
The Fiat 500X is priced from $28,000 (plus on roads) for the base model Pop in manual and goes all the way up to $39,000 for the all-wheel drive Cross Pop. Full pricing and specifications here or you can read our Fiat 500X Review.
According to Dougherty, the 500X is just what the Fiat brand needs in today’s SUV-obsessed market.
“We are very excited about 500x, it’s a real enterant into the fastest growing segment in the country, if you look at where all the growth is coming, it’s coming in small SUVs and anything that we could consider a crossover, so for us it’s very exciting as we get a chance to have an offering where there is a lot of growth, a lot of interest, a lot of utility in those markets and segments, but at the same time we bring a car that has a lot of personality with the 500X.”
Fiat Australia will use the marketing assets created by its North American and European operations as part of its launch campaign for the 500X, but with an Australian flavour.
“We are going to leverage our relationship with North America where they’ve already launched the product… [so we have] opportunity to use a lot of the assets that have already been created.
“We are going to take a different approach on how we go to market with it, take the best elements of what has been done in other markets and use it in Australia and I think we get the message out and change the view of the brand and trying to elevate the brand to where people understand that you can get a fantastic, very high quality product at a very affordable price but with a little bit of style and design to it.”
But despite the expectant growth, Dougherty admitted that he’s happy with the current dealer distribution of the Fiat brand in Australia.
“We are here to revitalise the brand and try and position it properly in the marketplace.”
So far this year (Jan-Nov) Fiat has sold 3756 vehicles in Australia, down from 5316 during the same period in 2014 (down by 29.3 per cent). This is partially due to the near 25 percent decrease in 500 sales, while the lack of a Punto or Panda has also helped the sales decline. The addition of the 500X should see the Italian brand bounce back in the coming months.