U.S. Fiat Dealerships Are Hibernating Until the New Electric 500 Arrives
Much hoopla was made about Fiat returning to the United States automotive market in 2011, but a dozen years later, the brand is practically non-existent in the states. Fiat has just one model on sale, the 500X, and that model will be hitting the chopping block soon. So, what is keeping Fiat around in North America? That would be the upcoming arrival of the 500e and, hopefully, more exciting models after that.
Discontinued Fiat models in the U.S.
Fiat’s lineup in the U.S. since making its return hasn’t been expansive – most models are variations on the iconic 500 model. Still, Fiat has a long list of models it has cut from the American automotive landscape over the last decade.
Fiat’s quintessential model, the 500 minicar, made its debut along with Fiat’s return to the U.S. for the 2012 model year. However, the tiny city car didn’t prove popular enough for the automaker to keep it around, and it was cut from the lineup following the 2019 model year.
The 500c, a cabriolet version of the 500, was also pulled from American markets in 2019.
The strange-looking, wagon version of the 500, the 500L, debuted as a larger alternative in 2014, but come 2020, it also met its demise.
Though Fiat anxiously awaits the return of the 500 by way of the all-electric 500e for the 2024 model year, it won’t be the first time the company will have introduced an EV bearing the 500e nameplate to the U.S. The first electric 500e was sold from 2013-19 in the U.S., but it was only available in select markets, had a range of fewer than 100 miles, and never caught on significantly, even among the EV crowd.
However, not all Fiat models to get axed from the U.S. have bore the “500” nameplate. The 124 Spider, which was mostly underpinned by the Mazda MX-5, provided roadster cruising with Italian style from 2017-2020. However, most buyers apparently favored the MX-5, and the 124 joined its stablemates in Fiat’s American automotive graveyard.
Low sales for the Fiat 500X
Fiat dealers are now limited to selling just one model, and it’s not exactly keeping them busy. According to FCA’s most recent sales figures, just 422 units of the 500X have been sold through the first three quarters of 2023. Sales of the model are down 44% since this time last year, which weren’t even that stellar to begin with.
There is a lack of exciting announcements from the Italian brand
Fiat seems to understand that only selling one model, and not many examples of it, has hamstrung the brand’s U.S. presence. As of this writing, Fiat’s newsroom page features just three announcements made in 2023, and none concern new models or much information any regular consumer might find intriguing.
It is known the 500e will return to the U.S., but as far as any potential plans for Fiat to look to its future or expand its lineup beyond the 500e, the automaker either doesn’t have any or is keeping its lips sealed.
Will the 500e save Fiat in North America?
Fiat’s presence in the U.S. market seems completely dependent on the success of the next-generation 500e, which is already available overseas and coming to the U.S. next year. It will be the only model available from the brand as the 500X is being discontinued. As such, the little EV now must carry the significant weight of making Fiat a relevant player in the American automotive market.
Fiat’s future in the West is unclear
It’s not yet known what direction Fiat will take after the 500e has made its debut, which likely depends on the success of the EV here. Small city cars play well overseas, but they’ve never been big sellers in the U.S., and Fiat’s recent history can attest to that.
However, with a flurry of EVs in development, the brand could be biding its time for the EV revolution to truly gain its footing. When that occurs, it’s reasonable to surmise Fiat is banking on the 500e garnering its fair share of buyers seeking a small, budget EV.