September proved a disappointing month for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' (FCA) two Italian brands on the U.S. market as Alfa Romeo’s two latest models saw their sales contract sharply while Fiat's collapse continues relentlessly.
Alfa Romeo in fact sold 1,639 cars in the U.S. last month split almost entirely between the D-segment Giulia (sedan) and Stelvio (SUV).
The Giulia shifted 756 units in September which was a fall of 17% over the same month last year but more worryingly it was two hundred units down on recent months’ sales and hitting four figures monthly seems to something from the past.
The Stelvio’s performance during September was even more worrying as its sales fell sharply month-on-month after it managed to shift only 864 units. That compares unfavourably to 1,271 units of the SUV that were sold in August, 1,140 units in July and 1,231 units in June.
The Stelvio has been hit this year by poorly handled recalls and its market positioning certainly requires optimising, but Alfa Romeo will be looking to ensure this remains a blip. While the Stelvio’s recent month-on-month data is comparable and it’s a model that should be still firmly embedded in the process of growing its segment share there may well be valid reasons for the SUV’s sudden downturn during September.
Finally, the 4C sportscar added 19 units during September and that was down 17% year-on-year.
In total Alfa Romeo’s sales were up 29% when compared to September last year but the data isn't comparable as the Stelvio was in its early roll out phase. Alfa Romeo should be targeting at the very least 3-4,000 units monthly for its current range, that’s certainly achievable, and the brand needs to swiftly address the glaring errors it's making.
The Fiat brand meanwhile is close to hitting the bottom now as it managed to sell just 1,185 cars across the U.S. last month a slump of over one thousand units and 46% year-on-year.
It wasn't a pretty picture throughout the range as the base 500 model slipped 48% to 529 units, the 500L was down 60% to just 84 units and the 500X lost 55% to 286 units. Meanwhile the 124 Spider enjoyed the softest fall, down 17%, albeit that added up to only 286 units.
For the year-to-date the picture for Alfa Romeo looks reasonable as its sales slowdown more recent trend and it's on a robust 18,160 units after the first three quarters of 2018, that’s up almost eleven thousand units and 147% on the first nine months of last year albeit it was then with just a single volume model in the range.
The Giulia is up 39%, which equates to more than three thousand units, to hit 8,933 units for the year-to-date while the Stelvio is on 9,044 units, but as it's roll out was getting underway this time last year there isn't any comparable data.
Finally, the 4C sportscar is on 183 units sold after the first three quarters of the year; that’s down 41% on the same period last year when sales stood at 309 units.
The Fiat brand has suffered a grim year so far and is on 12,084 units sold after nine months, down more than nine thousand units and 43% year-on-year.
The base 500 model has seen its sales volumes shredded so far this year as it's down a staggering 64% to 3,717 units. Meanwhile, the other 500 “family” members do fare a bit better, the 500L is almost flat, dropping 3% to 1,231 units and the 500X is down 28% to 4,221 units. Finally, for Fiat, the 124 Spider drops 21% to 2,915 units.
In total for FCA, when also counting in its four U.S. brands, the carmaker enjoyed a very good month of September with sales up 15% to 199,819 units. Last month Jeep was up 14% to 83,764 units, RAM was up 9% to 56,447 units, Dodge was up 41% to 42,101 units while Chrysler was down 7% to 14,683 units.
For the year-to-date FCA is on 1,679,983 units shifted in the U.S., with the biggest share of those sales going to the Jeep brand which had sold 746,194 units and is up 20% on the same nine month period last year.
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