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Author Topic: 500 Factory Closure  (Read 5572 times)

Offline simer

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500 Factory Closure
« on: December 05, 2008, 10:37:02 am »
Beginning to wonder if the Credit Crunch is already having and is going to have yet more of an impact on the 500 Abarth launch date.

What with Mini, the darling of the car market, reporting a fall in sales of 58% in the UK in November and the factory having to have an enforced extended Xmas break I'm starting to wonder what might be going on at Fiat/Abarth.

For example I saw this quote "As the economic downturn continues to impact hard on the  automobile manufacturing sector worldwide, Fiat Group Vice-Chairman John Elkann has admitted in a newspaper interview today that it would be open to talks on the idea of a positive merger or partnership." This coming from a company that was making excellent profits only last year.

Of more specific interest to us, how is the Tychy plant doing?

Are sales of the 500, Panda and Ka going to be sufficient to keep it going without a protracted shutdown?

If there is a shutdown how much is this going to further delay the launch of the 500A?

What was meant to be a January launch seems to be slipping to February and now March - how far will it have to slip before Fiat will have been holding onto our deposits for a full year?

What is most frustrating is that there has been no communication from Abarth, even insiders such as John seem to be in the dark - constantly being told that the prices will be confirmed and order book will be opened "next week".

I hope I'm wrong but this CC is getting me worried - does anyone else know more than me or have a view?


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    Offline JKDesign80

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    Re: 500 Factory Closure
    « Reply #1 on: December 05, 2008, 11:05:20 am »

    Although sales are down on last year, the Fiat Group have increased their market share in November.

    But yeah the car industry has been hit really hard, more so the aspirational brands it seems like BMW etc

    Can you imagine if Fiat had not launched the 500! surely they would be in serious trouble now as I can't imagine they are selling many other Fiat models really, especially in the UK.

    Spoke to Abarth dealer again yesterday who still have no confirmed price or launch date! By all accounts they have a substantial amount of orders as well.

    AlexK

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    Re: 500 Factory Closure
    « Reply #2 on: December 05, 2008, 11:41:11 am »
    November was expected to be a poor month - and it was.  Fiat UK's overall sales were down 42% compared with last November.  However, if you look at year-to-date, they're still doing OK, as JKDesign says.  December is predicted to be better, and the VAT cut is likely to encourage those who've been holding off.

    Although I don't have figures handy, 500 sales are still strong from what I hear, and as long as that continues, there's no reason to move to reduced production.

    Certainly as far as the Abarth goes, we know that Abarth can sell at least 200 of them tomorrow, if they bothered to actually bring them into the country, and that's an argument for speeding up production, not reducing it.

    I've not heard that the launch will be delayed until March.  From what I can remember, it was always going to be around February time.

    Offline OPC

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    Re: 500 Factory Closure
    « Reply #3 on: December 05, 2008, 12:17:43 pm »
    One thing that Fiat have done is delayed the relaunch of Lancia indefinitely. Didn't like the new Delta that much anyway.
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    olopboy

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    Re: 500 Factory Closure
    « Reply #4 on: December 05, 2008, 12:18:21 pm »
    Well they should be getting one more order next weekend ;D

    As far as I understood if you were in the first 200 and buying one of the first white 200 you should get it in February possibly within the first few days of launch. The rest of us will have to wait, I'm hoping not much beyond May though.

    AlexK

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    Re: 500 Factory Closure
    « Reply #5 on: December 05, 2008, 12:22:07 pm »
    Also, don't forget the new Ford Ka is made in the same plant.

    And the guy on FF is wrong - the 500 Abarth isn't made in Turin.

    Offline John501

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    Re: 500 Factory Closure
    « Reply #6 on: December 05, 2008, 02:21:13 pm »
    Alex is right, the 500 (both Fiat and Abarth), KA and Panda all roll out of the Tichy plant in Poland. If any car plant in the world is busy, the Tichy plant will be the one. Ford are so concerned about under supply of the KA that have said they will not be doing any fleet deals on them to ensure they have some for retail customers.
    Nobody has ever said to me that the launch of 500 Abarth has been put back to March. I'm not saying its not possible, but if it was the case you would think that perhaps a main dealer would know about it. I think there is a certain histeria about this car and perhaps we should not take a post on another forum, from a person who you have no idea who they are, and take it as creditable. For all anybody knows, this could be a 12 year old kid writing in his bedroom at home, thinking he's funny because people believe him. Believe the fellow that is prepared to put his weblink on the bottom of every post  that when clicked would give you his name, address and phone number. That person has no reason to lie!
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    Offline simer

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    Re: 500 Factory Closure
    « Reply #7 on: December 05, 2008, 02:38:08 pm »
    Abarth suggested to me that the, take it or leave it, first 200 identical cars would likely be sometime in February ahead of the "full launch" in March - whatever that might mean.

    The fact that prices, specs and dates are still not available is making me more and more sceptical as to whether things are still on track.

    The fact that an "own spec" model is more likely to be March, April, May........ who knows, is frustrating to say the least.

    AlexK

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    Re: 500 Factory Closure
    « Reply #8 on: December 05, 2008, 02:58:01 pm »
    The fact that prices, specs and dates are still not available is making me more and more sceptical as to whether things are still on track.

    I don't think that indicates that things aren't on track.  It just indicates that Fiat UK have managed the UK launch of Abarth extremely poorly.

    It's unfortunate that their mismanagement is now eroding into the goodwill that the brand previously enjoyed.

    But I still don't see anything to indicate that the first 200 won't arrive in Feb as expected.  Whether there'll be customers left who haven't been p*ssed off by the complete lack of information is another matter...

    Offline John501

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    Re: 500 Factory Closure
    « Reply #9 on: December 05, 2008, 03:00:51 pm »
    Simer, please dont think i'm having pop at you because it is not the case but I seem to be answering this question a lot. When ordering does open, it takes 12 weeks to get the car from the factory to the dealer. As the 500 Abarth is all the same chassis, running gear and engine is it not feasable that they can have many cars half built just waiting for colour specs and options to be fitted?
    Visit Vospers Abarth, Plymouth

    Offline simer

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    Re: 500 Factory Closure
    « Reply #10 on: December 05, 2008, 03:03:27 pm »

     Whether there'll be customers left who haven't been p*ssed off by the complete lack of information is another matter...
    [/quote]

    You may have hit the nail on the head there

    Offline domc

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    Re: 500 Factory Closure
    « Reply #11 on: December 05, 2008, 03:13:26 pm »
    You could take no news as good news, for all we know they could all be sat in poland waiting to be picked up and it might just be Abarth UK being slack and not keeping there dealers and customers informed.

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    Offline simer

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    Re: 500 Factory Closure
    « Reply #12 on: December 05, 2008, 03:33:23 pm »
    You could take no news as good news, for all we know they could all be sat in poland waiting to be picked up and it might just be Abarth UK being slack and not keeping there dealers and customers informed.



    Sorry just seen a pig fly overhead  ;)

    AlexK

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    Re: 500 Factory Closure
    « Reply #13 on: December 05, 2008, 03:53:38 pm »
    Simer, I really would suggest you rang Abarth UK and vented at them.  I completely understand your frustration, but I think it's time they started to hear it for themselves.

    Tell them you're going to yank your deposit if they don't come up with some info sharpish.

    But I don't think threads on multiple forums speculating about factory closures or getting the wrong end of the stick about stock levels helps anyone, you included.

    Offline Missing in Action

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    Re: 500 Factory Closure
    « Reply #14 on: December 06, 2008, 09:56:44 am »

    Can you imagine if Fiat had not launched the 500! surely they would be in serious trouble now as I can't imagine they are selling many other Fiat models really, especially in the UK.

    .... wow thats a bold statement.... i dont know about around your area but out in west yorkshire for every 500 i see you see about 10 grande puntos.... there EVERYWHERE especially out in wakefield, pontefract, leeds.

    infact i pulled into my local tesco's yesturday and there was 2 58 plate GP's - not good spec ones but still.
    The one with the cape!

     

    hungry