In South Africa, as in Italy and Europe, Fiat passenger car sales are growing, notwithstanding the reduction on total demand for cars.
A solid 48% increase in sales over last April makes Fiat the third fastest growing brand in South Africa. Ironically, just ahead of Fiat in the growth stakes are Ferrari and Maserati – supercar brands that both belong to the Fiat Group. A Chinese Brand that has very recently entered the passenger car market has also experienced a growth spurt.
Giorgio Gorelli, Managing Director of Fiat Group Automobiles South Africa, attributes this improvement in a challenging trading environment to three key factors: i) the work done on the network; ii) the completely new product range both on cars (Panda, Grande Punto and Bravo) and LCV (with the launch of the 19-seater Ducato taxi and the preview of the forthcoming people carrier, the Scudo); and iii) the exceptional level of service currently being achieved by the Parts Department thanks to the new Parts Distribution Center.
It is worth mentioning that the Alfa Romeo factory in Pomigliano, Italy, was closed for two months due to a 110 million Euro investment to completely upgrade the facility as well as re-train the entire workforce to ensure that quality standards are of the highest in the motor industry.
While this is certainly good news from a product perspective, it has had an impact on the company’s ability to deliver cars to customers in both Europe and Africa. Vehicle supply and availability will start improving from May.
Commenting on the outlook for the rest of the year, Gorelli said: “Although the forecast for the year remains prudent in terms of total demand, I’m confident that the launch of the new Fiat 500 on the 5th of July, as well as the exciting Alfa Romeo 8-Day experience – scheduled for the week of the 21st to the 28th June and culminating in an extraordinary Alfa Romeo get-together at Kyalami race track on the 29th of June, will ensure that there’s continued keen interest in these stylish Italian brands in South Africa.”