An (electric) shock horror case of PR from Fiat?

By on Friday, May 23, 2014

Fiat500e

It’s incredibly rare, if not completely unheard of, that the boss of a major company makes a request to the public NOT to buy one of its products.

But that’s exactly what Fiat Chrysler boss, Sergio Marchionne, announced in a news conference in Washington on Wednesday.

Revealing that the company makes a loss on each of the models it sells, the auto industry veteran requested that potential buyers of the electric Fiat 500e don’t purchase the car! “If we just build those vehicles….we’ll be bankrupt,” Marchionne told the Reuters News Agency. His excuse for the declaration was that he was being honest with consumers.

But was this a poor PR slip or has the company pulled off a bit of a PR coup?

The automotive press is now awash with stories of his announcement, importantly highlighting not just the car but that it is only for sale in California.

It’s unlikely that a story on the launch of another electric vehicle would generate the same level of coverage, so has Fiat laid the foundations for customer demand and interest in the model from across the world with one seemingly crazy announcement?

Only time will tell.

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