Wednesday 1 May 2013

Flat trading for Fiat

Fiat Group achieved revenues of €19.8 billion on the back of worldwide shipments of more than 1 million vehicles. Group revenues were 2 per cent lower in nominal terms but flat over the prior year at constant exchange rates.

Trading profit came in at €618 million – this compares with €806 million for Q1 2012. Net industrial debt increased to €7.1 billion (from €6.5 billion at year-end 2012) due to seasonal cash absorption for Fiat, but excluding Chrysler. It was partially offset by cash generation for Chrysler. Liquidity was strong at over €21 billion.

The U.S. vehicle market closed Q1 2013 up 6% to 3.75 million vehicles. The Group's overall market share rose to 11.4%. Jeep vehicle sales totalled 101,000 for the quarter, down 12% year-over-year, primarily due to the phase-out of the Jeep Liberty, pending the production launch of the all-new 2014 Jeep Cherokee in Q2 2013, and a 12% decline for the Grand Cherokee attributable to changeover to the new 2014 model.

Dodge, the Group's best-selling brand in the region, posted vehicle sales of 159,000 during Q1 2013, up 26% from the prior year mainly driven by sales of the new Dart (23,000 vehicles - not available in Q1 2012), the Avenger (+48%), the Challenger (+38%), the Journey (+27%) and the Durango (+23%). The Ram truck brand posted a sales increase of 14% to 79,000 vehicles, reflecting sales increases for both light-duty and heavy-duty pickups, up 19% and 18%, respectively. Chrysler brand sales totalled 80,000 vehicles during Q1 2013, up slightly from the same period last year.

The Canadian vehicle market declined 2% year-over-year to 363,000 vehicles. The Group's total market share was up 1.0 percentage point year-over-year to 16.0%, mainly driven by strong performance for the Ram pickup truck, Jeep Compass and new sales of the Dodge Dart.

Fiat branded U.S. and Canada sales, consisting of the Fiat 500 and Fiat 500 Cabrio, were 11,000 vehicles for the quarter, up slightly over the same period last year.

The NAFTA region reported revenues of €10 billion, down 3% over the prior year, primarily due to lower shipment volumes.

In Brazil, the passenger car and light commercial vehicle market was up 2% over the prior year to 789,000 units, representing an all-time record for the first quarter. The Group shipped 191,000 passenger cars and light commercial vehicles in Brazil, representing an 8% increase over Q1 2012.

In Argentina, where the market was in line with the prior year at 241,000 units, Group sales totalled approximately 29,000 units with market share up to 12.2%. Group shipments in Argentina totaled 29,000 vehicles, increasing 14% over the prior year on the back of improved supply of imported vehicles from Brazil.

In Europe (EU27+EFTA), the passenger car market registered a significant year-over-year decline of 10% to 3.1 million vehicles, with sales down in all major markets except the UK, where there was a 7% increase. In Italy, the market was down 13%, reaching the lowest level since 1980 despite improved demand for LPG and CNG-powered vehicles.

There were double-digit shipment decreases in France (-15%), Germany (-13%) and Spain (-11%). Elsewhere in Europe, there was an average 13% decrease in demand. The impact of the economic downturn was also evident in northern Europe, with markets such as Finland and Sweden recording year-over-year declines of 42% and 18%, respectively.

Group brands recorded a combined 6.4% share of the European market, an 0.1 percentage point gain over Q1 2012 (+0.2 p.p. over Q4). The Fiat Panda and 500, the two best-selling models in the A segment, posted shares of 14.7% and 12.7%, respectively. The 500L also performed well, ranking second in the Small MPV segment - just a few months after launch - with a 16.6% share.

In Italy, the Group increased market share 1.1 p.p. over Q1 2012 to 29.0%, benefiting also from its performance in the alternative fuel segment, where market demand was up 48% year-over-year. For other major markets, share was higher in Spain (+0.4 p.p. to 3.8%) and substantially flat year-over-year in France (3.6%), the UK (3.0%) and Germany (2.9%).

The European light commercial vehicle market (EU27+EFTA) registered a 10% decrease over Q1 2012 to 376,000 units, with overall demand again reflecting the sharp decline in Italy (-24%).

Excluding Italy, the Group's European market share was 9.4% for the quarter, representing a 0.8 percentage point year-over-year increase. Group share of the Italian market was 43.5%, representing an increase of 1.2 p.p. over Q1 2012. With 25,000 units sold, the Fiat Ducato was one of the most popular models in its segment with a 19.7% share (+1.8 p.p. over Q1 2012).

Ferrari in the first quarter shipped a total of 1,798 street cars, a 4% increase over the prior year driven primarily by 8-cylinder models (+5%) and, in particular, the contribution of the 458 Spider. For 12-cylinder models, sales were in line with the prior year with positive performance for the new F12 Berlinetta.

The US remained Ferrari's best market with 456 street cars shipped in the quarter (+14% over Q1 2012); the US accounted for 25% of total sales. Volumes were also higher in the Asia-Pacific region, with a total of 336 cars shipped (+18% over 2012), on the back of double-digit growth in Japan and continued positive performance in Australia. In China, shipments were substantially in line with the prior year. In Europe, there was a decrease in shipments over Q1 2012, with positive performance in Switzerland (+19% to 114 vehicles) only partially offsetting declines in other major markets, particularly Italy (-54% to 56 vehicles) where the downward trend that began in 2012 continued. In the Middle East, volumes were up 74% year-over-year with 141 cars shipped and, in South Africa, shipments rose 45% to 32 vehicles.

Ferrari first quarter revenues reached €551 million, an 8% increase over the same period in 2012 driven primarily by higher sales volumes.

Trading profit totalled €80 million  compared with €56 million for Q1 2012. The increase reflected higher sales volumes, as well as the contribution from licensing and the personalization programme.

During the first quarter, Maserati shipped 1,304 vehicles, a decrease of 5% over the 1,371 vehicles shipped in Q1 2012. Volumes for the Quattroporte were down year-over-year as a result of the changeover to the new model, which entered production in January. As a consequence, shipments for the quarter were down over the prior year in greater China (China-Hong Kong-Taiwan) (-16%), Japan (-14%) and in the Middle East (-48%). By contrast, shipments in Latin America were up 56%, 42% in Europe and 1% in the US.

Maserati posted revenues of €157 million for the quarter, down 4% over the same period in 2012. The trading loss of €4 million compared with a €16 million profit for Q1 2012, primarily reflected lower volumes and higher selling costs associated with the launch of the new Quattroporte.                                                 

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