Search This Site

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fiat North America CEO Laura Soave speaks

Here are two interesting interviews of Laura Soave done by the Detroit Free Press this past week. They give some background on how she was chosen to lead Fiat's re-introduction to the US market and how the Fiat 500 will be marketed.

Reintroducing Fiat to the U.S

Fiat's brand new experience


Anonymous said...

I've watched her in the videos and read the interviews.

She comes across as childish and inarticulate, and by her actions, incompetent.

First of all, the intro of the 500 has been an annoying drip, drip, drip of information. Any buzz they had about the 500 dissipated after the first YEAR of teaser press releases.

Secondly, the Prima Edizione program was very flawed, from the internet site, to the taking of orders, to follow up emails. I, personally, could not access the site for days, could not get my reservation number (had to call), and customer service could not answer my questions. For crying out loud, they couldn't even spell FIAT correctly when charging my credit card (it was spelled "FLAT").

When the actual content of the car was FINALLY released at the LA auto show, it was a disappointing dud, and I canceled my reservation the next day. So much for her professional vision on that model.

Oh, and my personal invitation to attend the preview arrived in the mail two days after the show ended.

I love this car, and I want it to survive. But instead of focusing on personalization for the iPod generation and making the customer "feel part of the brand," why don't they focus on building a good car and informing the consumer of its merits? I could car less about "art cars - if it weren't for this blog, I wouldn't know a damn thing about the car.

I hope FIAT USA survives her.

Anonymous said...

I'm really surprised to read the comments of the anonymous reader. I am following from overseas and it looked like everything was going well. I think there is enough information about the Fiat 500 in this blog. I can say that the car is very reliable, has a comfortable ride, excellent safety measures and the mileage is good. It's just a fun car to ride. I hope the Chrysler-Fiat group fixes the problems ASAP. Posting such negative comments could hurt the relaunching of the Fiat brand. Unless it was done with good intentions. said...

I posted this comment because I appreciate people visiting my site and out of respect for that, let them express their feelings. However, I will address some points that I feel are mis-characterized.

It sounds like a computer problem on his end regrettably soured our anonymous posters feelings toward the purchase (I, along with COUNTLESS others, accessed the site without issue and I took numerous screen shots during the count down).

Ms. Soave impressed and was hired by one of the most respected leaders in the Auto Industry. Our anonymous poster's assessment seems driven by some vindictiveness, are insulting and inappropriate. I'll go with Marchionne's judgment.

Even though the 500 has been on sale in the rest of the world since 2007, the North American version was just launched a few weeks ago. You cannot promote specifics and give details on a car that is still , as I write, undergoing final testing. The promotion of the car in earnest will begin when there are cars available to buy and dealers up and running.

And while we would all like as much information as fast as possible, we knew going into this that we were reserving a car sight unseen and pricing unknown. We were told the cars would be delivered no later than the end of April (the cars are even coming earlier than that) and given the right of refusal.

As far as saying the car's content was a dud(?); this car has fantastic content for the price. It is understandable not to care for a particular item or equipment and there may be some disappointment, but to slam it as a dud really is over the top and is obviously emotionally driven.

This launch was the most attended and written about of the show and even the press kit give-away package has been sold on Ebay for $275!

Fiat cannot be held responsible for mail coming late. I and others received the invitation well in advance.

I can't see wanting the car to succeed and then posting such a negative comment, even finding fault down to the misspelling on a credit card receipt.

For our international friends who follow this blog, from my point of view (and others you can read on this blog), I will say that this posters hostile attitude is not in keeping with other Prima Edizione reservationists and while it is natural for folks who have been waiting to have an occasional grumble, rest assured there will be 500 very happy Fiat owners within the next few months!

This pains me to call out a reader of this blog, but I'm not going to have insulting speech here.

George W Baumann said...

I want to second what Chris has said regarding the negative comments of the first anonymous posting for this article. I want to make it very clear, from my personal experience as a Prima Edizione reservation holder (#409), that I am very happy with my experience so far.

I have listened to Laura Soave's interview on Autoline Detroit and I found her performance to be very enjoyable. She was bright, cheerful and knew everything about what she was talking about without having to stumble or search for answers. Chris is right, I trust Sergio Marchionne's opinion regarding Laura. Laura, keep up the good work!

As for the performance of Fiat so far regarding the introduction of the Fiat 500 I give them an A+. I have called the Fiat customer support line many times and each and every time I have been treated politely, promptly and with great personal interest. I hope the Fiat continues the great customer service that they are providing already through their customer support line.

By the way Chris, two more Fiat press kits have sold since on e-bay, one for $325 and another for $330! How's that for demand. I think that the facts speek for themselves.

I personally attended the LA International Auto Show and I can tell you from my personal observations that the response from at least 85% of the people viewing the Fiat 500 was positive. I did notice two or three people with the typical uneducated response about "Fix It Again Tony". One of those people had good words to say about the car after looking at it for a few minutes.

I want the viewer who commented from overseas to know that Fiat is doing a fine job and most Americans and Canadians who are potential customers for Fiat automobiles are looking forward to being able to buy a new Fiat again. There will always be people of varying opinions and no one car is for all people. I will go down on record though as a past, current and future Fiat owner that Fiat makes some of the best cars in the world period.

Rusty said...

Hey, Laura Soave is super cute.

And this car's already had a huge impact in europe for more than several years now. The only suprises left should be how much they'll improve it for US roads. said...

Thanks George and Rusty.

Comments and opinions are welcome here. Let's keep them constructive so they may actually HELP improve the experience and not bring bring the tone of the conversation down.