Fiat tried to dump some slow selling models onto its dealers.
Fiat dealerships have been struggling as of late. The brand has had really slow sales in the US, and could even be forced to bow out of the market again. According to a report by Automotive News Europe, Fiat dealerships in Europe aren't doing so hot either. In fact, Italian Fiat dealerships are currently protesting the company after being invoiced for 6,000 cars that they did not order. The dealers discovered in their dealer management systems that they were sent a bunch of Tipo compact cars and Ducato vans, both of which are slow-selling models.
Fiat was obviously trying to get rid of undesirable models. "We were invoiced for a considerable number of Tipos that we did not order. They also had the wrong specifications, making them harder to sell," said one of the dealerships that already had a surplus of Tipos. Another dealership said that "Fiat overnight invoiced us for more than 5,000 units of a model that so far this year had sold just about 4,000 units a month." These dealerships want to remain anonymous, because they are afraid of FCA's reaction and FCA declined to comment on the issue. All told, FCA sent over 90 million euros worth of inventory to dealers that was never ordered; dealers that were already struggling to sell inventory.
FCA's Italian dealer body UCIF is currently protesting this move. Chairman, Carlo Alberto Jura, sent a letter to FCA corporate that said the move was "inopportune" because dealers already had inventories that weren't moving fast. In some cases, Tipos were remaining on dealer lots for eight or nine months. FCA continues to have slow sales, but was able to increase first-quarter deliveries this year by 6,000 units. Hopefully FCA can turn the Fiat brand around.