Fiat's Crippling Sales Decline Continues

The troubled Fiat division of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (NYSE: FCAU) had another disastrous sales month. The company sold 2,670 cars in May, down 16% from the year earlier. Sales for the first five months of the year were down 14% to 12,440.

The figures would have been worse if not for the new Spider model. Fiat sold 564 of these in May and 1,990 in the first five months. The balance of the Fiat lineup did poorly. Sales of the 500L sedan dropped 51% to 163. Sales of the base 500 model dropped 21% to 1,240. Sales of the 500X dropped 44% to 703.

Fiat Chrysler’s comment about the month:

Fiat 124 Spider sales were up 21 percent compared with the previous month of April. May was the 124 Spider’s best sales month since its launch in July 2016. The FIAT brand announced in May that it is offering new looks for its iconic, Italian-designed, fun-to-drive Fiat 500. Customers may give their Cinquecentos even more style by adding the new optional appearance packages: Sport Black Trim; Two-Tone; and Abarth Roof, Mirror Cap and Body Stripe. Additional options include an automatic transmission, sunroof and Cabrio.

In other words, management did not discuss the difficult issues.

24/7 Wall St. recently did an analysis of the sales problems of the 500L, titled “Fiat 500L Takes an Average of 6 Months to Sell, Worst of Any Car”:

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (NYSE: FCAU) has fought a losing uphill battle to sell its Fiat models in the United States. A prime example is that it takes Fiat an average of 175 days to sell its 500L, based on the time when it reaches a dealer and the time when it is sold, according to Kelley Blue Book.

Fiat 500L sales continue to plunge toward zero. It is difficult to understand why Fiat Chrysler even offers the model. And it is evidence of how large a problem the entire brand has in the United States.