In 2009, Fiat will celebrate 110 years as a vehicle manufacturer and, with its iconic Fiat 500 winning the 2008 Car of the Year award, the current model range puts the company in a strong position to increase its market share.
Innovative engines such as the 1.3-litre Multijet turbodiesel complement the company’s small petrol engines in offering exceptional economy, which is currently the prime factor in determining buyer choice.
The new Panda Cross gives permanent four-wheel drive in a package that delivers more than 54mpg (combined) and could point to the future of urban 4x4, while the Doblo Family offers seven seats and hatchback frugality.
Fiat parts prices have never been at the top end of the scale but, with the market now so competitive, do they stand up to the competition?
We look at a 2002 Fiat Punto 1.2 8v, 2001 Stilo 1.6 and 2001 Multipla 1.9 JTD, with the competition coming from two internet parts operations and an independent factor/retailer. Fiat prices were supplied by Fiat UK.Final conclusion
Club Ricambi is Fiat’s parts trade club, which was launched in 2006 and is aimed at supporting repairers of cars and commercial vehicles more than three years old.
Club Ricambi dealers must hold a core stock of parts dedicated to vehicles aged three to 10 years and the programme is supported with a trade parts catalogue which, says Fiat, “is positioned very competitively against non-genuine suppliers”.
The programme website includes Club Ricambi dealer locations, current special offers, an electronic copy of the trade catalogue and information on gaining access to technical information.
On this showing it seems that Fiat has done its homework very thoroughly, with a competitively priced parts programme that mirrors that of the independent opposition very closely.
With the ‘Big Two’ continental parts operations yet to offer a full Fiat range, it was interesting to see the prices available from less well-known internet parts operations and they certainly offer some keen prices.
It may be that this is still the preserve of the retail rather than the trade customer, given the need for an ‘instant’ delivery to a commercial workshop, but it has certainly opened up the marketplace for the consumer, be they trade or retail customers.