Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. – Annual report – 31 December 2019
Revenue is recognized when control of our vehicles, services or parts has been transferred and the Group’s performance obligations to our customers have been satisfied. Revenue is measured as the amount of consideration the Group expects to receive in exchange for transferring goods or providing services. The timing of when the Group transfers the goods or services to the customer may differ from the timing of the customer’s payment. The Group recognizes a contract liability when it invoices an amount to a customer prior to the transfer of the goods or services provided. When the Group gives our customers the right to return eligible goods, the Group estimates the expected returns based on an analysis of historical experiences. Sales, value added and other taxes that the Group collects on behalf of others concurrently with revenue generating activities are excluded from revenue and are recognized within the Other liabilities and the Tax liabilities line items in the Consolidated Statement of Financial Position. Incidental items that are immaterial in the context of the contract are recognized as expense.
The Group also enters into contracts with multiple performance obligations. For these contracts, the Group allocates revenue from the transaction price to the distinct goods and services in the contract on a relative standalone selling price basis. To the extent that the Group sells the good or service separately in the same market, the standalone selling price is the observable price at which the Group sells the good or service separately. For all other goods or services, the Group estimates the standalone selling price using a cost-plus-margin approach.
Sales of goods
The Group has determined that our customers from the sale of vehicles and service parts are generally dealers, distributors or fleet customers. Transfer of control, and therefore revenue recognition, generally corresponds to the date when the vehicles or service parts are made available to the customer, or when the vehicles or service parts are released to the carrier responsible for transporting them to the customer. This is also the point at which invoices are issued, with payment for vehicles typically due immediately and payment for service parts typically due in the following month. For component part sales, revenue recognition is consistent with that of service parts. The Group also sells tooling, with control transferring at the point in time when the customer accepts the tooling.
The cost of incentives, if any, is estimated at the inception of a contract at the expected amount that will ultimately be paid and is recognized as a reduction to revenue at the time of the sale. If a vehicle contract transaction has multiple performance obligations, the cost of incentives is allocated entirely to the vehicle as the intent of the incentives is to encourage sales of vehicles. If the estimate of the incentive changes following the sale to the customer, the change in estimate is recognized as an adjustment to revenue in the period of the change. Refer to the Use of estimates – Sales incentives for more information on these programs.
New vehicle sales through Guaranteed Depreciation Program (“GDP”) are recognized as revenue when control of the vehicle transfers to the fleet customer, except in situations where the Group issues a put option for which there is a significant economic incentive to exercise, as discussed below. Upon recognition of the vehicle revenue, the Group establishes a liability equal to the estimated amount of any residual value guarantee.
The Group also sells vehicles where, in addition to guaranteeing the residual value, the contract includes a put option whereby the fleet customer can require the Group to repurchase the vehicles. For these types of arrangements, the Group assesses whether a significant economic incentive exists for the customer to exercise its put option. If the Group determines that a significant economic incentive does not exist for the customer to exercise its put option, then revenue is recognized when control of the vehicle transfers to the fleet customer and a liability is recognized equal to the estimated amount of the residual value guarantee. If the Group determines that a significant economic incentive exists, then the arrangement is accounted for similarly to a repurchase obligation, as described in Lease installments from assets sold with buy-back commitments.
When control of a good transfers to the customer prior to the completion of shipping activities for which the Group is responsible, this represents a separate performance obligation for which the shipping revenue is recognized when the shipping service is complete. Other revenues from services provided are primarily comprised of maintenance plans and extended warranties, and also include connectivity services, and are recognized over the contract period in proportion to the costs expected to be incurred based on our historical experience. These services are either included in the selling price of the vehicle or separately priced. Revenue for services is allocated based on the estimated stand-alone selling price. Costs associated with the sale of contracts are deferred and are subsequently amortized to expense consistent with how the related revenue is recognized. The Group had €224 million of deferred service contract costs at December 31, 2019 (€200 million at December 31, 2018) and recognized €68 million of amortization expense during the year ended December 31, 2019 (€88 million during the year ended December 31, 2018).
Revenue from construction contracts, which is comprised of industrial automation systems, included within “Other activities”, is recognized as revenue over the contract period in proportion to the costs expected to be incurred based on our historical experience. A loss is recognized if the sum of the expected costs for services under the contract exceeds the transaction price.
Lease installments from assets sold with buy-back commitments
Vehicle sales to fleet customers can include a repurchase obligation, whereby the Group is required to repurchase the vehicles at a given point in time. The Group accounts for such sales as an operating lease. Upon the transfer of vehicles to the fleet customer, the Group records a liability equal to the proceeds received within Other liabilities in the Consolidated Statement of Financial Position. The difference between the proceeds received and the guaranteed repurchase amount is recognized as revenue over the contractual term on a straight-line basis. The cost of the vehicle is recorded within Assets sold with a buy-back commitment in the Consolidated Statement of Financial Position and the difference between the cost of the vehicle and the estimated residual value is recognized within Cost of revenues in the Consolidated Income Statement over the contractual term.
Interest income of financial services activities
Interest income, which is primarily generated from the Group by providing dealer and retail financing, is recognized using the effective interest method.
Use of estimates (extract)
The Group records the estimated cost of sales incentive programs offered to dealers and consumers as a reduction to revenue at the time of sale to the dealer. This estimated cost represents the incentive programs offered to dealers and consumers, as well as the expected modifications to these programs in order to facilitate sales of the dealer inventory. Subsequent adjustments to sales incentive programs related to vehicles previously sold to dealers are recognized as an adjustment to Net revenues in the period the adjustment is determinable.
The Group uses price discounts to adjust vehicle pricing in response to a number of market and product factors, including pricing actions and incentives offered by competitors, economic conditions, the amount of excess industry production capacity, the intensity of market competition, consumer demand for the product and the desire to support promotional campaigns. The Group may offer a variety of sales incentive programs at any given point in time, including cash offers to dealers and consumers and subvention programs offered to customers, or lease subsidies, which reduce the retail customer’s monthly lease payment or cash due at the inception of the financing arrangement, or both. Sales incentive programs are generally brand, model and region specific for a defined period of time.
Multiple factors are used in estimating the future incentive expense by vehicle line, including the current incentive programs in the market, planned promotional programs and the normal incentive escalation incurred as the model year ages. The estimated incentive rates are reviewed monthly and changes to planned rates are adjusted accordingly, thereby impacting revenues. As there are a multitude of inputs affecting the calculation of the estimate for sales incentives, an increase or decrease of any of these variables could have a significant effect on Net revenues.