Fiat SPA ( FIATY , quote ) is selling few of the Fiat 500 subcompact in the United States due to strong competition from Ford Motors ( F , quote ), GM ( GM , quote ) and many other foreign car makers.
As a result, according to an article in USA Today by Chris Woodyard and James R. Healey, "Fiat's U.S. sales chief ousted," the marketing head for America, Laura Soave, has been fired.
She was tasked with a virtually impossible mission. Entry-level buyers in many countries, particularly the United States, have a plethora of well made, very attractive cars from around the world from which to choose: the Ford Fusion (F) is just one example.
GM, as reviewed in the USA Today piece, just introduced the Spark, its third subcompact after two other successful models, the Cruze and the Sonic. These cars also come with comprehensive warranties of up to 100,000 miles, such as those offered by Hyundai from South Korea.
It is difficult to discern exactly the void FIATY thought it was filling in the United States with the 500. If there is a consumer market that is mature and saturated with advertising and products, it is U.S. auto sales.
The Fiat 500 is very important as it is the small, fuel efficient subcompact that Chyrsler needs for its line-up of vehicles. But, according to Automotive News , 29 of Fiat's 130 US dealerships did not sell a single 500 last month.
Fiat is not giving up on the 500 model, described as "impish" by Healey and Woodyard in USA Today , however.
The USA Today piece pointed out that the 500 Abarth, "a macho version" of the subcompact, was just introduced, hopefully to increase sales "the vehicle's appeal to men."