Fiat counts on Ferrari's Ramaciotti to rev up Chrysler sales

Thursday 24 November 2011, 10:55 AM by

Fiat SpA (F) recently roped in the celebrated designer of Ferrari 612 Scaglietti, Lorenzo Ramaciotti, aiming to offer the most satisfying and befitting Chrysler models to both Detroit and Milan.

The 63-year-old designer, who dodged retirement and returned in 2007, is functioning in close coordination with Fiat to bring about a sense of commonality between Chrysler and its Italian sister brand Lancia on style grounds. The move is directed towards saving costs and pushing their sales with immense coerce, doubling it by 2014. The latest approach adopted by Fiat attempts to bring forth similar looks across its models that range from urban sub compacts to capacious minivans.

Ramaciotti, who heads the designing department at Fiat and Chrysler, stated that “We are trying to find an international language, which could have a place both here in Italy and in the U.S. If you put all the models into the showroom, they must fit together. It’s a delicate problem.”

Fiat counts on Ferrari
Fiat Chrysler

Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of Fiat and Chrysler Group LLC, was responsible for turning the tides for the troubled Italian company and the previously bankrupt American manufacturer. Chrysler and Lancia are expected to attract the mid-market consumers in order to escalate the group sales by 64 per cent to 5.9 million vehicles by 2014.

The strategy poses a challenge for Fiat to bring about poise by curtailing the expenses on new models, along with satiating the consumer demands for a car that has a local essence to it. This situation at Fiat was confirmed by Roberto Verganti, who wrote the book ‘Design-Driven Innovation’ in 2009.

Verganti, presently a management professor at Milan Polytechnic added, “It’s extremely difficult to succeed in a strategy of globalising design. The risk is making international cars with no personality. When you buy a Lancia, you are looking for a piece of Italy, and when you choose a Chrysler, you are getting a slice of America.”

The Chrysler-Lancia duo is expected to bring coveted success for Fiat in the coming time. Other brands, including Dodge, Jeep, Maserati and Alfa Romeo, will keep their distinct American and Italian identities intact. Ramaciotti, who spends a week in a month in Detroit to supervise design projects, said that these brands will stick to their basics, irrespective of where they are sold.

As a matter of fact, Chrysler has struggled to make its mark in Europe compared with General Motors Co. (GM) and Ford Motor Co., both of which are staring down Fiat in the region. The U.S. car maker bought a stake in France’s Simca in 1958, following which it sold its European operations to Peugeot in 1978.

Under Stuttgart, Germany-based Daimler AG, the brand resurrected its effort in Europe, with sales achieving new highs of 120,000 cars in 2007. On the whole, Chrysler sold-off about 37,000 cars last year in Europe, including Dodge and Jeep models.

Thus, it seems that Fiat has taken a long stride towards strengthening its position in Europe and the U.S.; both the regions that vow to offer a plethora of opportunities to carmakers.

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