Fiat: “We wasted three years in China.”

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Lorenzo Sistino 300x192 Fiat: We wasted three years in China.Fiat’s Global Operations Director Mr. Lorenzo Sistino recently accepted an interview with the Chinese automotive website Auto 163 where he underlined plans for Fiat in the Chinese market. During the interview Mr. Sistino expressed that he believes that Fiat has wasted three years in China, presumably from a lack of a partner and having to establish a new partnership with Guangzhou Auto.

Auto163: The break up of the Nanjing-Fiat joint venture was just over three and a half years ago, in the past three years Fiat has not had any local production China, which has meant that Fiat has been left out of the fast paced growth that the Chinese car market has seen in this time. Most international manufacturers have already entered China, so what chance does Fiat have?

Sistino: Of course, we have been out of the Chinese market for three years and there has been rapid developments in the market. We believe that Fiat does still have strong potential in the Chinese market. First of all, we have a strong partner in Guangzhou Automobile Company, we are happy to work with them and communication is very easy, with this type of partner how can we not develop fast? Secondly Fiat’s latest technology and latest products have been highly appraised, all of which can be brought to China. Fiat’s small cars and green technology are entirely applicable to the Chinese market. Thirdly, the Chinese market still has massive potential. Although the market was a little jittery earlier this year, but the scope for development is larger than the US or EU markets. China is undoubtedly a big market, with production and sales likely to increase year after year. Although Fiat was later to China, we still have a strong chance, and we will grab that chance by the horns.

The international economic crisis really tested us, the Fiat of today cannot be compared to the Fiat of three years ago. Fiat has brought Chrysler under its wings which has been highly succesfull, we have also assisted Chrysler with their financial issues. Fiat now has the technology, the products and the ability to take on the Chinese markets, we will be successful

Auto163: Fiat is about to launch the Fiat 500 into the Chinese market, its a small car that will appear to certain niche buyers, so why are Fiat putting so much emphasis on the model?

Sistino: The 500 is special in Fiat’s global line up, from the 50′s to the 70′s we made more than 3 million 500′s which made it the Italian’s people car and one of the greatest small cars of all times. The 500 is part of our strategic plan for the Chinese market.

Auto163: Does Fiat have any sales goal for the 500 in China, do you have a monthly goal?

Sistino: The 500′s main goal is to establish the Fiat brand in China, we are chasing quality and not numbers here. According to our own internal estimates the Fiat 500 should be able to achieve sales of 700 to 10,000 units [Editor note: Not clear if that is monthly, or yearly - likely yearly], as I’ve already stated our goal is to set up the brand, we’re chasing branding value and not sales. The cars that will sell in big numbers will be our Chinese made cars from Guangzhou-Fiat.

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One Comment

  • dragin
    July 13, 2011

    When Fiat sold those platforms to Zotye three or four years ago, there was also an opportunity to join a small but promising partner in China, but they looked down their noses at the little fish and went for the bigger one, Guangqi.

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