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Fiat Chrysler’s 1Q17 Performance in Europe Stunned Its US Peers

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Fiat Chrysler in the European market

In 1Q17, Fiat Chrysler’s (FCAU) shipments in the European market rose 11.8% to 340,000 vehicle units, from 304,000 units in the corresponding quarter of 2016. These higher shipments drove its revenue higher in the region to 5.6 billion euros, or $6.1 billion, a 12.0% rise compared to 1Q16.

Strong demand for the Fiat Tipo, the new Giulia, the Talento, and the new Stelvio were some the key drivers behind FCAU’s positive growth in the European market.

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US automakers in Europe

After North America, Europe has been the second-largest market for US auto giants General Motors (GM) and Ford Motor (F). In 1Q17, Europe accounted for 11.0% of GM’s total revenue, which was lower than 13.0% for 1Q16. GM’s 1Q17 revenue in the region stood at $4.5 billion, a YoY (year-over-year) fall of 4.0% compared to $4.7 billion in 1Q16. GM’s profitability from the region continued to be affected by currency headwinds.

Ford’s revenues from Europe, however, rose 10.0% to $7.6 billion, from $6.9 billion in the corresponding quarter of the previous year. In 4Q16, Ford’s revenues from Europe fell 2.0% to $7.2 billion, from $7.3 billion in 4Q15. So on a quarter-over-quarter basis, the company’s performance has improved in the region, but this improvement was not as strong as Fiat Chrysler’s improvement. Clearly, Fiat Chrysler’s 1Q17 performance in the European market was far better than its US peers GM and Ford.

Note that GM finalized a deal on March 5, 2017, to sell its European business units to PSA Group for $2.2 billion. GM’s decision to exit the European market could be seen as part of its efforts to close its operations in unprofitable markets.

After GM’s exit from the European market, Ford is likely to face competition there from auto giants (IYK) such as FCAU, Daimler (DDAIF), PSA Group, and Volkswagen (VLKAY).

In the next part, we’ll see how mainstream auto companies performed in Asian countries, including China, in 1Q17.

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