The following is an excerpt from Brad Tuttle | June 7, 2012 | Time.com |
Fiat and Toyota, both of which had a rough sales year in 2011, can’t seem to produce cars fast enough for buyers lately. One much-hyped plug-in vehicle is also faring better in the marketplace in 2012. After struggling to attract buyers last year, these vehicles have been transformed in recent months into hot sellers.
When the adorable Italian car was reintroduced to the U.S. market in 2011, sales were less than impressive, at least partly the result of too-few dealerships being prepared to sell them. Lately, it’s a different story. Fiat “studios,” as the showrooms are called, are amply prepared to move the vehicles, and they’re experiencing great success doing just that. They sold over 4,000 Fiats in May, more than double the number a year ago (1,759 units in May 2011). During the first five months of 2012, a total of 16,702 Fiats have been sold.
Edmunds’ Inside Line reports that the 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth, the high-end model with racing stripes and a starting price roughly $7,000 more than the base, is “virtually sold out” just six weeks after it went on the market. As a result, Chrysler—which has been booming for months after nearly going out of business a few years ago—plans on boosting production of the 2013 Abarth, which dealers will begin accepting orders for in late summer.
The Japanese automaker had a rough 2011. The history-making tsunami caused a production slowdown, resulting in Toyota (and Honda too) being one of the few manufacturers to experience a decline in sales for much of last year. Even though a sales rebound was inevitable for 2012, Toyota’s sales have blown away forecasts so far.
In Toyota’s recent sales conference call, Toyota, Lexus, and Scion’s sales numbers in May were up 87% compared to May 2011. Collectively, these brands were selling 7,800 cars and trucks per day, a rate not seen since the days of….
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