FCA Says “Nyet” to Future Fiat Sales in Russia
Due to declining sales, FCA is pulling the Fiat brand from Russian markets to focus on a recovering Jeep brand
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles tends to do relatively well, year after year, throughout most of Europe. One exception to this trend is Russia. The automaker’s market in Russia has rapidly dwindled in the past few years. In fact, due to this situation, FCA has decided to cease Fiat sales in Russia.
At the time of the announcement, only one Fiat model remained in Russia: the Fiat 500. During the first five months of the year, Fiat sales totaled 622 units. Still, that sales total accounted for a 17.8% increase in sales year-over-year for the Fiat brand. In 2016, Fiat sales decreased 53.1% to 2,159 units.
Fiat isn’t the only brand with Russian sales on the decline. Jeep sales plummeted 75% in 2015, decreasing by 38.3% yet again in 2016. For the first five months of 2017, 827 Jeep vehicles were sold in Russia. While this still outnumbers the total amount of Fiat units sold, it’s a 21.2% sales decrease year-over-year. Between 2012 and 2016, Jeep managed to outsell Fiat in Russia only once in 2014. That year, FCA sold 8,221 Jeep vehicles, compared to the 8,102 Fiat vehicles sold.
Nevertheless, FCA has big plans for Jeep vehicles in Russia. By eliminating Fiat from its Russian lineup, FCA plans to focus on both Jeep and the relatively small operation of Chrysler. One reason for FCA’s vehicle declines in the past handful of years was likely Russia’s economic downturn. As Russia’s economy is currently recovering, FCA hopes that its motorists will start looking at the larger SUVs that make up the Jeep lineup. Denis Manturov, Russia’s Minister of Industry and Trade, is not quite so sure. He attributed FCA’s current 0.2% market share of the Russian vehicle industry to the company’s sales tactics, which work wonders in other parts of Europe but may not be as effective in Mother Russia.
Source: Ward’s Auto