Your article detailing the faltering fortunes of Fiat (MW June 2) focuses on Fiat’s “weak and unfocused brand”, ill-judged advertising campaigns and inward-looking Italian culture. But this is only the start of the company’s woes. True, the branding has been bashed, but the company has been criticised for poor-quality products and its badly run dealership and spare parts network.
Fiat’s problems are deep-rooted, and one must question its management structure, rather than focusing purely on brand. Sergio Marchionne’s appointment as chief executive in 2004, following the death of chairman Umberto Agnelli and the subsequent walkout of chief executive Guiseppe Marchio, made him the fifth chief executive in two years. How can a company badly in need of restructuring begin its recovery in a climate of constant change and unclear leadership?
Marchionne has taken up the mantle, but he brings to Fiat no prior experience of automotive industry management. If Fiat is to recover from its losses, it will have to do more than rework its brand: its management will have to provide clear leadership and direction, and overhaul its business operations from product development through to sales and marketing. Only then will we see the troubled car manufacturer on the road to recovery.