Fiat’s new pricing structure in the U.S. will cut the sticker prices of some models next year up to $5,205 and drop the starting price of its cheapest model under $15,000, excluding shipping, according to documents obtained by Automotive News.
The new pricing structure was hinted at but not detailed earlier this year when Tim Kuniskis, head of passenger car brands for Fiat Chrysler, met in March with North American Fiat dealers at a special meeting in Detroit to save the struggling brand.
The document sent to Fiat dealers this month shows the price for a base-level Fiat 500 Pop minicar — in what is described as the “2017MY showroom” — dropping from $16,995 to $14,995, excluding the current $995 shipping fee.
It also details a Fiat showroom that will have far fewer trim levels across its four-car lineup and fewer places where prices of similar cars overlap each other.
One example is a drop of as much as $5,205 in the price of the convertible 500 minicar, the 500C, as the brand makes the droptop a $1,495 option across all trims next year. That reduces the price of the top-end 500 Abarth Cabrio from $26,695 this year to $21,490 in 2017, before shipping charges.
The sharp price decline of the 500 convertible puts some room between it and the brand’s new convertible, the Fiat 124 Spider. The 124 — built in Japan by Mazda and based on the Mazda MX-5 — starts at $24,995 and rises to $28,195, excluding shipping.
The price reductions are the final piece of what has been a yearlong effort to improve the fate of Fiat’s struggling U.S. dealerships. In March, Kuniskis told dealers that they could:
• Consolidate operations under a single dealer code, allowing them to avoid duplicate vendor contracts and share advertising costs.
• Apply Fiat sales toward monthly sales goals and incentives, including meeting the minimum sales responsibility for their Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram outlets.
• Receive direct payments each month in the form of rent assistance if they continue to operate Fiat franchises as stand-alone dealerships.
• Receive additional incentives to sell Fiat vehicles, such as lucrative stair-step incentives.
At the time, Kuniskis told Automotive News that the 500L and 500X were “tripping over each other” in terms of pricing and content.
“The cannibalization between [500L and 500X] is very evident,” he said. “We’re not getting any new people in, and all we’re doing is flip-flopping them between these cars.”
The reduced trim walk for 2017 will allow dealers to reduce the complexity of their inventory, Kuniskis said.
“It will just be a lot easier for a guy to stock it, sell it and understand it, frankly,” Kuniskis said.
Reintroduced to the U.S. in 2011, Fiat’s U.S. sales peaked at 46,121 in 2014 but slipped to 42,410 last year and are down 20 percent more through October. That slide is despite the addition earlier this year of the 124 Spider.
A Fiat spokesman declined to comment on the repricing.
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