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RE: Size of FIAT

Ed at CARIBOULH <CARIBOULH@domain.elided> wrote:

>Please note that you also have here the reason that Fiat does not return to
>North America. Even if they could INSTANTLY sell 100,000 cars a year here
>(extremely, extremely unlikely), an additional 100,000 cars would only add 6%
>(well 6.2% to be exact) to their sales volume. For all the hassle involved...
>Only this past year, 1997, did Mercedes finally surpass 100,000 sales for THE
>FIRST TIME in North America, and how long has it taken them to do so??? 40
>The likeliness of Fiat showing up on our shores and being able to generate any
>type of sales volume to make the smallest contribution to their WORLD-WIDE
>sale volume is essentially zero. So don't hold your breath to buy new Fiats...
>just fix-up the old ones we still have. They're all we will see here for a
>long, long time.

I maybe wrong about some of this so don't anybody take this as the gospel.

The FIAT corporation only had control of the importation of their cars for a
short period of time while in the US.

The original importer of FIATs was the Roosevelt motor company (FDR jr).
FIAT later bought him out sometime in the seventies (I think), then shortly
botched everything up. They have nobody to blame but themselves. 

Same goes for Alfa Romeo for being too cheap to even advertise their cars in
US magazines.

Hoffman was the original importer or Alfa Romeos and I think NSUs, DKWs and

One of the questions at the 1994 Freakout banquet was, how many cars did
FIAT sell during their last year? Seems like it was around 40,000 cars.
That's really alot of cars for the early 1980s. If that figure is correct
then why did they leave the US?

Everybody is waiting on "FIAT" to bring their cars back into the US. If it
were not for our strict importation laws, there would be private companies
(or individuals) bringing these cars in left and right. Bill Gates tried to
import a *limited* production Porsche into the United States a few years ago
and failed. The reason was because the US DOT (or whoever has control over
this) said that an identical car must be crashed tested to prove it was
safe. The trouble was there were only 2 cars built! I never heard the
outcome of this story so I don't know what ever happened.

I was over in Europe last summer and if it were not for US importation laws,
I would have shipped back a 2 or 3 year old Cinquecento. 

Most people in other countries don't realize this. We don't have the luxury
of bringing non-certified cars into the country even if we can modify them
to meet US requirements.

Now if your a foreigner, you can. You have to apply for a permit and swear
you won't sell the car to an American citizen and that you take it back with
you when you go home. However some of these cars do slip through the cracks.
Don't they <name withheld>???

But getting back to my story. Brickland was the importer of the Bertone X
1/9, Pininfarina Spider and the Yugo. The companies that produced these cars
really had no control of the dealers in the US.

There are also "microimporters". I'm not sure if this company is still in
business but there is (or was) a single importer of Citroens in the United
States, located in Pennsylvania.

Morgan sportscars are also sold here but there is also only one dealer.

These cars carried a very high pricetage. The Citroen sold for over $60,000
and the Morgan sells for $30,000.

And when the Euro Escort Cosworth was built it sold for around $60,000 as well.
And believe it or not, I was told that there is a company located in Oregon
or Washington that imports Russian built cars. But I can't confirm this.

I would say that the reason these cars sold for so much more than what they
would normally sell for in Europe is because of all the red tape that the
importer must go through so they pass it on to the buyer.

Another concern is the fact that when something happens, lawyors tend to go
after everybody if someone get's hurt in an automobile. So if I was injured
in an accident, the lawyor would go for the importer, the manufacturer and
anybody else he (or she) could drag down with him. Sesna airplanes were
really hard to get parts for a few years ago because everyone was afraid to
produce parts because everytime a plane would crash the lawyors would not
only sue Sesna but the producers of every part in the entire airplane!
According to a news program I saw back in the 1980s. I think things have
changed since then when enough people complained to the government.

So maybe these importers must carry special liabilty insurance which they
pass on to the buyer.

So there is hope yet. Maybe if the U.S. government relaxes the laws on
importing autombiles, maybe someone will decide to become the next FDR jr
and bring FIATs back to the US.


James Seabolt -----> mailto:jseabolt@domain.elided
ICQ # : 7344463

United States

1980 FIAT 2000 Spider (injected)
1981 FIAT X 1/9 (Injected)
1994 JEEP Wrangler (2.5l )
1976 Chevrolet Pickup (454 Big Block)

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