by Bill Cawthon • Posted on January 4th, 2013
In addition to the welcome news from Chrysler, Fiat also received a cheering report from Latin America: Fiat set a new all-time record for production and sales in Brazil, posting the best performance in its 36-year operating history in the country. Full-year sales of cars and light commercial vehicles totaled 838,219 units, representing an 11.1% increase over the prior year (754,276 units) and a 10.2% increase over the previous sales record of 760,495 units set in 2010.
The sales leader for the past 11 years, Fiat outperformed the overall light vehicle market where sales of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles increased 6.1% in 2012 to 3,634,510 units (compared to 3,426,290 units sold in 2011). As a consequence, Fiat increased its share to 23.1% from 22% in 2011. In December, sales totalled 74,465 units.
“This year’s performance, our best in the 36 years since we began operating in Brazil, was attributable to the fact that we anticipated the market recovery and were ready to ramp up production at just the right moment to ensure we gained market position and share”, said Cledorvino Belini, Chairman of Fiat/Chrysler for Latin America.
Major players in the wining performance included the Uno, Fiat’s leading model with 255,149 units sold, and the Strada, with 117,464 units delivered.
Fiat also set an all-time production record in Brazil with 759,000 cars and light commercial vehicles produced, representing a 12.5% increase over 2011 (675,000 units) and a 10% increase over the previous record of 690,000 units.
Meanwhile, Fiat has announced that it will exercise its option to purchase a second tranche of 3.3% stake in Chrysler held by the UAW’s retiree healthcare trust. The net amount of the purchase will be $198 million. Fiat will then own a 65.17% stake in Chrysler.
While sales numbers won’t be released until a week from today and even though there’s one more selling weekend in the month, industry analysts have already issued their forecasts for July light vehicle sales.
Edmunds.com, Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com, and TrueCar.com all see Chrysler Group reporting the highest growth of the top automakers with sales more than 20% higher than they were in July 2013, a month where Chrysler temporarily fell to fifth in the volume rankings, outsold by American Honda....
As government rules get tighter, and to avoid losing customers if/when gas prices rise, automakers are trying to increase gas mileage.
At Chrysler, Ram has been slashing fuel consumption by cutting parasitic losses, using eight-speed automatics, and spreading diesels to the 1500 line. Jeep is busily creating the new Wrangler, with an eye towards saving weight, and Chrysler has been advertising for a senior buyer for large aluminum castings....
The slow week for Fiat news has journalists scrambling again. Thursday’s Financial Times reported that Fiat-Chrysler and PSA Peugeot have discussed a merger.
Unlike the story in Manager Magazine about a possible FCA-Volkswagen tieup, the Financial Times said “people familiar with the talks” were fairly straightforward: the automakers did have discussions but nothing progressed beyond that point....
Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (ISS), the world’s leading provider of corporate proxy voting services, has issued a recommendation that Fiat shareholders reject the proposed merger of Fiat and Chrysler.
Fiat needs the approval of the holders of at least two-thirds of the shares being voted.
According to a Reuters report, an ISS recommendation document says, “Despite the potential benefits of a NYSE-listing in attracting new investors, (the merger) would decrease shareholder rights.”
Frontis Governance, a smaller, Italian proxy advisor based in Rome, has made the same recommendation....