Adding the Abarth treatment will especially appeal to the youth segment of Fiat's market. The formation of a racing and rally team comes off as an attractive progression to the market when the Grand Punto Abarth S2000 won the Italian and European Rally Championships in 2006. Marketing schemes include promotional clothing and merchandise.
As announced, the new Abarth division within Fiat comes off strong in experienced manpower support, "with a total of 113 experts, including 26 engineers, 43 on the manufacturing side of the business and nine dedicated purely to motorsport."
The use of the scorpion emblem on the new Grande Punto shown in the recent Geneva Motor Show also is a particularly strong and visceral image that communicates well that Fiat's small car has power and "sting".
Further, the marketing of the new Grande Punto Abarthe uses in full force the Abarthe legacy within Fiat that has been long relegated to the company's in-house tuning division. Absorbed by Fiat in 1971, the Abarth company founded by Carlo Abarth produced sporty versions of Fiat models. The last stand-alone Abarth model produced by Fiat was 1984 Ritmo 130 TC Abarth according to the Carblogger website.
The strategy of reviving the Abarth marque within Fiat seems to be half-measure towards a full return of the Abarth model in the automaker stable of brands. The strategy is still to infuse Fiat models with the Abarth interpretation of a motorsports power and allure as it has done in the past. However, the more visual return of the marque (i.e the use of the scorpion logo) has started with the successful Grande Punto model, and Fiat has announced that the next car models to get Abarth treatment will be the Bravo and the Fiat 500. While not in itself a brand, the new marketing moves seems to communicate that this is so.
And if this is so in full practice, Fiat may have created an all-new and stand-alone and modern Abarth brand that incorporates its traditional hold on motorsport glory and Fiat's known hold on the market for its pricing affordability. Instead of a piecemeal approach to allow the public to sample the Abarth treatment in every Fiat model, the company could have tested the
Fiat Grande Punto Abarth
market response in so far as to create an all-new market for a stand-alone Abarth brand.
Thus, the marketing strategy may communicate well with existing and loyal Fiat buyers, and create even bigger demand within the captured market of Fiat, especially the young and bolder segments. However, this may not happen as effectively or as successfully to the market not yet reached by Fiat or those who have never bought Fiat cars in the past. For one, the brand is still in fact tied to "interpreting" its mark on Fiat's existing and successful car models. While marketing promotions as a communication strategy will add a notch over-all