Sergio gets a little advice on his little car
Lots of people are second-guessing Chrysler's failure to get off to a good start with the Fiat 500, including Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne.
And here's some advice from a fellow small-car seller, Jim McDowell, the U.S. boss at Mini -- the small-car brand Fiat hoped to emulate.
For one thing, lower your sights, Fiat guys. Marchionne forecast that Fiat would sell 50,000 500s in North America last year. It wound up at 26,294.
Ten years ago, when Mini launched here, it sold 24,590 cars. Last year it sold a record 57,511, including several variants.
"You take it a little spoonful by a little spoonful," says McDowell. He says Marchionne "underestimated what it takes to set up the dealer network and what it takes for acceptance."
Oh, and another thing: McDowell says that if you're going to sell a car to women, don't use a sexy pop singer like Jennifer Lopez to star in your commercials.