Remember Torino Motors? The last official Fiat dealer in Malaysia?
They closed their showroom doors in 2009. It was located at Torino Motor Industries (M) Sdn Bhd, No 316 Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.
The last few cars that they had in their showroom then were the Fiat Brava and the Fiat Marea. They even had a few Marea station-wagons with a diesel engine.
The 2008 Giugiaro designed Fiat Bravo with a 1.4L engine and six airbags tried to make a last-ditch effort to gain some Malaysian sales but sadly failed just as Torino Motors did.
Sales in Malaysia were next to nothing and private Fiat specialist workshops had issues with expensive parts and the lack of certain spare parts.
Still, there were some Malaysians who loved the Fiat brand and the final stock of cars was cleared before Fiat in Malaysia officially closed for business. Today, where are these Fiat cars?
Not many have survived and if you find them on sale in the used car classifieds, their asking prices are low; between RM12,000 and RM2,000.
The classic Fiat 124, 131 Supermirafiori and 132 are fetching between RM14,000 and RM29,000 after proper restoration.
The very sexy Fiat Coupe still has a following and prices are still hovering between RM20,000 for the 16V Turbo and as high as RM65,000 for the 20V Turbo.
Then from 2013 to 2018, approved permit car importers started bringing in limited units of the Fiat 500, the Abarth tuned 595 versions which had a sticker price of RM180,000 and even the rare Tributo Ferrari version which was selling then at RM250,000.
Yes, some Malaysians took home these ultra-chic compact Fiats and today you see them running around on weekends.
So, will Fiat return to Malaysia some day?
Well, the answer is a solid “No”.
Simply put, the current Fiat range (for the past six years) consists of the Fiat 124 Spider, the Fiat 500 in a number of variants and the Fiat 500X Crossover in a number of variants.
The 124 Spider has been discontinued and the 500X is neither here nor there in terms of being popular.
The evergreen Fiat 500 remains a cute car but the segment rivals from Japan and Europe have cuter offerings at better value in their showrooms.
Fiat might have been a car manufacturer of financial strength some years ago, but with fledgling global sales and no large sales presence in China and North America (the two biggest car markets globally), Fiat sales globally are suffering.
Yes, Fiat is still one of the largest automakers in the world – Fiat boasted a global sales figure of around 1.5 million vehicles in 2018 which was a 9.8% drop from 2017. The 2019 global drop in total sales figure was even more disappointing.
2020 sales will probably be a fraction of the previous years’ and so the future looks bleak for the brand.
Like Swedish car brand Saab, Fiat might be extinct in a few years’ time and Malaysians will never see a new Fiat on sale.