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Not long ago, it wasn’t hard to find a FIAT 500 ripping around the streets of most cities in America. With the FIAT 500, the Italian brand brought a perfect city runabout that wasn’t a barebones hellscape like the Mitsubishi Mirage. But just five years later, FIAT is in dire straits, selling less than 1000 cars for the second year straight.

FIAT sells no more than 49 cars a month in 2023

2023 Fiat 500x sales are not keeping the brand afloat
2023 Fiat 500x | Stellantis

FIAT only reports sales quarterly, so we don’t yet have sales data for July and August. But unless the American buying public experienced a sudden change of heart, FIAT has sold no more than 49 cars per month this year. Through June, that means just 280 FIAT sales in 2023. Even assuming a fourth-quarter sales bump, where holiday incentives boost car sales, FIAT is likely to sell no more than 700 cars by the end of the year.

From 42,000 sales in 2015 to just 919 in 2022

2023 marks yet another year of FIAT sales plunging into the basement. This precipitous drop began in 2016, where the Italian brand’s sales fell 20%. However, it still managed to move nearly 34,000 cars that year. Unfortunately, the double-digit sales drops continued each year from then forward. The biggest drops came first in 2020, where FIAT sales fell 53 percent versus 2019. Then 2022 brought even more disaster, marking a 61% fall to just 919 sales, according to GoodCarBadCar.

The falloff in 2020 isn’t all that surprising. The FIAT 500 ended production and then, of course, a global pandemic further hindered sales. But the Italian brand never righted the ship, and sales of its larger FIAT 500x have continued tanking in the years since.

The FIAT 500 returns in 2024

2024 Fiat 500e
2024 Fiat 500e | Stellantis

The FIAT 500 is the brand’s undeniable icon, and pulling that anchor from the lineup was clearly a mistake. But the Italian arm of Stellantis is committed to bringing the 500 nameplate back, this time as a subcompact EV.

It’s a perfect move for the two-door mini hatchback, as the city car concept is perfectly suited for electric power. Currently, the 500e sells in Europe with a 117-horsepower electric motor good for about 200 miles of total range. Even more important, the 2024 Fiat 500e features the same iconic styling that made it famous. It’s a bit of the past and the future wrapped into one, a concept that typically does well in the eyes of consumers.

No, the 500e isn’t going to win anyone on interior space or range. Other EVs have it beat for the same price point. But it has a certain character and charm that are undeniable. And as EVs lose personality with each new release, the 500e competes with the 2025 Mini Cooper EV in the race to capture more hearts than minds.

New leadership aims to turn things around at FIAT

2024 Fiat 500e EV
2024 Fiat 500e interior | Stellantis

Stellantis NA appointed Aamir Ahmed as the new FIAT brand executive in America back in May. Tasked with leading the Italian outfits U.S. electrification process, Ahmed previously led SRT product marketing through 2016. Now, Stellantis COO Mark Stewart has welcomed Ahmed back to the team, saying “Aamir is back where he belongs and at the right time.” Considering his first public move was to ban grey cars from the FIAT lineup, it’s clear that the brand’s new direction involves highlighting the quirky character of its vehicles.

Will FIAT survive in America?

As part of the Stellantis automotive conglomerate, FIAT has undeniable American ties on the back end of the business. But a lot of its retail futures hinge on the success of the 2024 Fiat 500e. Selling fewer than 1,000 compact crossovers a year isn’t enough to keep the brand afloat for long. And though nobody from FIAT has said so, it isn’t hard to imagine the brand leaving American showrooms if things don’t turn around in the next few years.

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