|Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 16):|
In America, guys who like to go fast (or simply LOOK like they like to go fast buy a Mustang, Challanger, RX-8 or any of a number of sporty cars out there. The tiny hot hatches like in Europe don't have much of a market - a Golf GTI is about as small as they go.
I don't agree. Honestly I've been around car guys a long time and my own tastes have run from big block Pontiacs to small Fiats to exotic europeans and even several Japanese sports cars. If it's a good car, it'll get a following. Miatas were once regarded as chick cars, but they're very popular with (mostly male) racers.
But I don't disagree that the 500 is simply too small to ever appeal to mainstream American tastes. I love fiats, I've had five of them and wrenched on all of them myself. So when given access to the 500 very early on, I really wanted to like it. It's a nice car, and fun to drive. But it's too small to fit my needs, and if I can't make it work - somebody who lived with far less practical elderly Fiats sometimes as daily drivers, most other Americans can't make it work either.
The Grande Punto however, would be a great choice. It looks like a small Maserati 3200GT and handles quite well. Fiat would still have an uphill climb to prove quality, however.
|Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 16):|
if the Fiat name can be associated with Italian styling etc, it might sell.
Perhaps, but who buys a Minivan for styling?
The detailing in the Ulysse is likely far better than the Caravan, but it's still a smaller, less practical minivan with a badge people wouldn't know. The Fiat-PSA
minivans have always been a little smaller than American equivalents or the Renault Espace (for a long time Europe's favorite minivan), and they've never really had all that much of an impact.
Now, it could play if there was a presence for Lancia, because Lancia's version is quite luxurious, but that'll never happen. Lancia holds on to it's existence by the thinnest of strings.
Lancia's european dealers are now getting Lancia Thema badged Chrysler 300s, which is a better opportunity for them than a Fiat Ulysse for Chrysler dealers. But even then, the numbers will be very, very small for European Themas.
I don't think it was such a hot idea either. It isn't quite as poorly regarded as Pinto or Vega, but not many people ever got excited about the historical Dart, and it's best remembered today as a hearing-aid-beige sedan with a brown vinyl top driven by retirees. Durable but hardly exciting. There was a time when there really were exciting Dodge Darts, but for every Dart GTS with a 383, there are 100 Slant six Dart sedans with rusty quarter panels and fraying vinyl.
Not sure why they picked this particular name, a new name might have been better. I can get why they wouldn't continue "Caliber" however, or revive "Neon." Both tainted names now.
Ah the Brera. If ever there was a claim for false advertising...it looks so good, but drives pretty much like any other generic front-drive sedan.
Alfa's problem, over the last thirty years, has been promising a BMW experience but only delivering Honda Accord dynamics, often with Daewoo Lanos reliability problems (though that is far better today than it was ten years ago and certainly 20 years ago).
Alfa would be a great fit here, but it would have to be positioned above Chrysler, not between Chrysler and Dodge - a narrow niche.