Fiat brand 'huge success in the US'
Italian carmaker reports 60% market share in its segment10 September, 14:48
Francois told reporters at the Frankfurt Motor Show that the Fiat brand - part of the Fiat Group, which includes a basket of Italian and American brands, including Chrysler - had taken off in North America, with more than a 60% share of its segment and 25% sales growth in California, where 4,000 orders had been racked up for Fiat's new electric vehicles.
Francois also cited the Fiat 500L - a more spacious version of the revamped 500 classic compact - as a particular success, and said the group was investing in a new Trekking version of the car.
Francois said Fiat was still small compared to the "great American brands", but that the company sees the US as a big "gym" in which to reposition the brand as "premium" and "cool".
Understanding the key to success in the US can help in Europe, too, Francois added.
Francois also said that there was no overlap in the markets covered by the 500 and the Panda, thus the two models do not "cannibalize" each other, but together cover 28% of the market.
According to Francois, one out of every three small cars in Europe is either a Panda or a 500. Francois underlined the international appeal of the 500, which is going great guns in the US and Asia, and holding strong in Europe.
Francois said the advantages of the 500 are that it doesn't grow old, and it is the most eco-friendly and globally recognizable among city cars.