Fiat’s Reputation Wrecked in New Survey

The automotive Brand Report Card Rankings from Consumer Reports is among the gold standards of car research used by new car buyers. This year, the firm’s researchers looked at 33 brands. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.’s (NYSE: FCAU) Fiat brand finished dead last, yet another challenge to its presence in the United States.

Fiat posted a score of 43, against an industry average of 70. Top-rated Porsche has a score of 86. Fiat had the worst possible score for “predicted reliability” as well as the worst possible score for “owner satisfaction.”

Some relatively inexpensive cars, a category that includes Fiat, did extremely well. Jake Fisher, senior director of Automotive Testing at Consumer Reports, commented on how these brands fared when measured for reliability, safety and high customer satisfaction: “That’s especially remarkable for brands like Subaru, Mazda, Hyundai and Kia that offer many affordably-priced options.”

Fiat’s sales in the American market are already so low that it has nearly disappeared altogether. While overall Fiat Chrysler U.S. sales fell 1% year to 2,203,663, Fiat sales dropped 41% to 9,200. That was only 25 unit sales a day.

It is amazing that Fiat’s parent continues to sell the car in America. It has marketing costs, dealer costs and costs to deliver cars to dealers. The overall effort cannot be worth it. If Fiat disappeared from the United States, would it be anything other than a positive move for Fiat Chrysler?

Methodology: Consumer Reports considers only new vehicles that are currently for sale and that it has tested at its 327-acre Automotive Testing and Safety Center. The evaluation included braking, handling, comfort, convenience, safety and fuel economy. Consumer Reports then determines the Overall Score, a combination of predicted reliability, owner satisfaction and Consumer Reports’ hands-on analysis that includes road performance and key safety features and crash-test results, if available, for each brand model tested.

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