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Fiat 500c and 500
Fiat blames nascent dealer network on poor sales

Fiat was supposed to make a triumphant return to the U.S. market with its diminutive and distinctively styled 500. However, things haven't exactly panned out exactly the way that Fiat planned according to The Detroit News.

The 500 is a subcompact that is being pitted directly against the Mini Cooper (an upcoming Arbath model will target the Mini Cooper S). On a lesser degree, the 500 also competed with the Smart fortwo and the upcoming Scion iQ.

However, sales of the tiny four-seater are nowhere close to reaching the lofty goals set by Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne. Fiat expected to sell 50,000 500s during 2011 in North America. Through the first seven months of 2011, Fiat sold fewer than 12,000.

For comparison, BMW AG's Mini brand had total sales of 34,527 through July. The two-door Cooper/Cooper S coupe and convertible models alone accounted for over 20,000 of those sales.

Laura Soave, head of Fiat North America says that establishing a dealer network in the U.S. has taken longer than expected which has contributed to the poor sales. "We have coverage now, so now is the time for us to turn this up," Soave added.

Two basic models of the vehicles are currently available to U.S. customers: the 500 (coupe) and the 500c (convertible). The cheapest model available is the 500 Pop which has a base MSRP of $15,550 (the cheapest Mini Cooper will set you back $19,400). The Fiat 500 also has good fuel economy for a subcompact with EPA ratings of 30mpg in the city and 38mpg on the highway with a 5-speed manual. 

Shares of Fiat SpA dropped over 4 percent on the news of poor 500 sales.



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RE: Just like the not so Smart car...
By Manch on 8/17/2011 1:06:29 PM , Rating: 1
yeah... My father and his coworker had one in Texas as a rental. He pulled the trunk open, loaded his groceries, tried to close it only to realize it was still locked.

The panel was so flexible he was able to open it. He then unlocked it, closed it, and tried it again. Same thing.

There's no way in h#ll I'll drive one of those things. I don't want to die.

Aren't the stateside versions made in Mexico? That could explain the lack of quality. I've seen them at the dealer lots and I can't say I'm impressed.


RE: Just like the not so Smart car...
By spread on 8/17/2011 4:16:59 PM , Rating: 2
The Impreza and the Evo have aluminum trunks and hoods (that can be dented by a punch) but they still do amazing in crash tests.

The hood and the trunk add little to the car structurally and you can make them out of light materials. You would know this if you had any clue about cars instead of jumping to conclusions.

But hey, you like your heavy steel right? It's safer isn't it? Look at this crash test video of a 1959 Belair (a tank) versus a lighter modern day 2009 Malibu made of thin steel. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joMK1WZjP7g

Learn before you judge.


RE: Just like the not so Smart car...
By mindless1 on 8/17/2011 5:56:08 PM , Rating: 3
You can't make them out of lighter materials because things like hail or opening and closing warpage will damage them.

Your video only shows you don't know that lighter is worse if you compare the same modern engineering designs, that it proves nothing at all relative to your claim.


RE: Just like the not so Smart car...
By YashBudini on 8/17/2011 11:39:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You can't make them out of lighter materials because things like hail or opening and closing warpage will damage them.

They can and they do. I've seen the entire "top side" (hood, roof, trunk, tops of fenders) destroyed on a Nissan after a hail storm.

http://www.google.com/search?tbm=isch&hl=en&source...


By mindless1 on 8/19/2011 1:57:49 PM , Rating: 2
I 'meant' you can't make them (much) lighter without causing problems. Tinfoil is good for baking or keeping the aliens' radio signal out of my head, not a vehicle that humans ride in.


RE: Just like the not so Smart car...
By Spuke on 8/17/2011 6:46:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Look at this crash test video of a 1959 Belair (a tank) versus a lighter modern day 2009 Malibu made of thin steel. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joMK1WZjP7g
Thank God they don't make them like they used to. That said, that sure was a pretty car. :)


RE: Just like the not so Smart car...
By YashBudini on 8/17/2011 8:27:39 PM , Rating: 2
Very much so. Do people realize how many injuries occurred from non-collapseable steering columns? Lap-only seat belts? Those cars have no crumple zones. You hit a brick wall and the car instantly stops, while the passengers are still doing 55-60 mph.

Yes old cars crush news cars, but they crushed their passengers as well.


RE: Just like the not so Smart car...
By Calin on 8/18/2011 3:07:23 AM , Rating: 2
Recent cars (the one built this millenium, and some just a bit before it) have perfected the concept of "unbendable passenger compartments". The idea is, even on relatively small crashes the car can be a total loss if the passengers are totally safe.I've seen a video with a Smart hitting a concrete barrier at 70 km/h I think (some 45 mpg), and have the passenger compartment almost unbent (the front of the car was completely leveled though).
Seeing the passenger compartment deform that way on the Bel Air was scary as hell, the way the engine compartment stopped mostly intact but the passenger compartment bent and got compressed over the engine.
It's good they don't make them like they used to do


RE: Just like the not so Smart car...
By FITCamaro on 8/18/2011 7:36:51 AM , Rating: 2
Yes but if a larger vehicle hits one, you're getting scraped out of it.


By Brandon Hill (blog) on 8/18/2011 8:33:30 AM , Rating: 2
What's your solution? Everybody buy big cars?

You buy a pistol, so I need to buy a shotgun? :)


RE: Just like the not so Smart car...
By Spuke on 8/18/2011 12:05:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Yes but if a larger vehicle hits one, you're getting scraped out of it.
I don't know, that 59 Bel Air looked pretty large to me. :)


RE: Just like the not so Smart car...
By Manch on 8/19/2011 9:39:00 AM , Rating: 2
Umm, yeah your way out of left field on this buddy.

The trunk being so flimsy that you can open it while it's locked with little effort speaks to its build quality. Not to mention its small size, makes me uncomfortable taking one out on the highway with big trucks, and I've seen what happens to a smart car.

While the hood and trunk may add litle to the structures stiffness, they are used as part of the crumple zones. I dont know of a modern car that you cannot dent if you punch it. Hell, I can push down hard with my hand and dent a hood. So what. No car I've owned or rented have I been able to pull the trunk open whiles its locked, and that includes my WRX. Evo's and Imprezzas are a lot bigger than a 500 not to mention safer.

Maybe you should read the posts I replied to and try to take things in context.

Understand what you read before you blow it out of proportion


RE: Just like the not so Smart car...
By Manch on 8/19/2011 10:54:05 AM , Rating: 2
US version is made in Mexico

European version made in Poland


"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer














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