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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 RussianSensation on 8/17/2011 3:07:36 PM , Rating: 1
Disappointing sales for the Fiat 500? Oh really? There can't possibly be any explanation besides a poor dealer network:

1. 68% of Americans are either Obese or Overweight:

So right there and then, you just lost 70% of the car buying market. I mean it's pretty hard to try to sell customers a car where they won't even fit into the driver's seat.

2. Then you have a lot of tall individuals and people who play sports with large physique - the likes of 6'4-5+ footers that are completely not interested in this vehicle.

3. Then you have to deal with the anaemic 101 HP engine (that still can't achieve a fuel economy of 40mpg on the highway!!!), being forced to put the pedal to the floor every time you are accelerating on the on-ramp to 60mph. 0-60 time of 10.8 seconds is sleep inducing, and that's for the Sport model which costs $19,000:

4. So what you have left in US is 16-18 year old girls who want their daddy to get them a Fiat 500, 19-25 year old girls who have enough $ after paying off their student debt and aren't interested in the larger Bettle / a sportier Mini or an SUV for "safety", and "Other", such as males who can't tell the difference in driving between a Fiat 500 and a Mini or their own masculinity.

If you ask me, that's a pretty small market in this economy!

RE: Just like the not so Smart car...
By MrTeal on 8/17/2011 3:34:49 PM , Rating: 2
1. 68% of Americans are either Obese or Overweight: So right there and then, you just lost 70% of the car buying market. I mean it's pretty hard to try to sell customers a car where they won't even fit into the driver's seat.

Oh come off it. Someone who's 5'10" and 175lbs is overweight according to BMI, they would have no issues fitting into a car like this. Even at 210lbs someone wouldn't have much issue with a small car. Those chicks in the linked picture might have trouble wedging themselves in, but they're probably tipping the scales way into the morbidly obese range.

There's a lot of other reasons to not pay $20000 for a well optioned version of this car, but saying that 70% of people won't be able to fit into it is retarded.

RE: Just like the not so Smart car...
By mindless1 on 8/17/2011 5:59:41 PM , Rating: 2
You are right only if you equate "fitting" to getting as many sardines into a can as possible.

Let me ask this: Do you buy the smallest home your body can physically cram into because you "fit" in it, when smallest would use less energy to heat and cool and cost less? Do you eat the smallest amount of food that will keep you alive? Do you buy the smallest clothing to save on material?

It's idiotic to buy the smallest car you can fit in to save gas. If money is that tight buy a used car and draw interest on the savings, and plan your life better so you aren't needing to drive so many miles.

RE: Just like the not so Smart car...
By MrTeal on 8/17/2011 6:15:47 PM , Rating: 2
Umm, no.

I never claimed that anyone should buy the smallest car they can fit into. I wouldn't buy this car because it's a coupe and way too small for my needs, as I'd imagine it is for many people. That has nothing to do with my comment.

The only thing I said is that the statement by the person who I replying to was ridiculous. Most people, even if overweight by the BMI will fit in the driver's seat. That doesn't mean there's enough rear seating space or cargo space, but that has nothing to do with 70% of people not fitting into the driver's seat.

Reading comprehension: It's a wonderful tool.

By mindless1 on 8/19/2011 2:02:27 PM , Rating: 2
My point still stands. Merely "fitting" in the drivers seat does not equate to a car being an acceptable size. People are not products stuffed into boxes, they move around and have things with them, need some breathing room, some personal space instead of rubbing up against the person sitting next to them, etc.

Further, a smaller seat can't support the extra weight over the life of the vehicle, the suspension may start to sag, the vehicle handling can even be effected if the weight imbalance is enough. What dimensions the seat has is the least of the issues as overweight people have to make do with average sized seats "most" of the time they sit down.

RE: Just like the not so Smart car...
By FITCamaro on 8/17/2011 11:14:47 PM , Rating: 2
Someone who is 6'1" and 230 pounds of solid muscle is obese according to BMI. It's a worthless scale.

And half of people I see driving "Smart" cars are (actually) obese. I guess they need the extra money for more food. But it makes me laugh.

RE: Just like the not so Smart car...
By YashBudini on 8/18/2011 12:10:42 PM , Rating: 2
Only an extremist who make such a statement, it probably works well on like 70-80% of the population.

Expecting perfection from an estimation is ridiculous.

RE: Just like the not so Smart car...
By mindless1 on 8/19/2011 2:09:33 PM , Rating: 2
Let's make a distinction between obese and obscenely obese, nevermind the useless BMI scale which considers anyone who is physically fit (ample food and exercise to support good muscle mass) and not an ectomorph to be overweight.

RE: Just like the not so Smart car...
By YashBudini on 8/19/2011 5:25:32 PM , Rating: 2
Actually it's the general population of overweight people that lends itself to BMI's accuracy. Sure boxers and weightlifters are a total fail on the subject, but then what percentage of any country's citizens are overweight and all muscle?

Your distinction should be noted, but that's just one more issue in BMIs vast generalization.

Percentage of body fat is still a good indicator, but not so easy to measure accurately.

By mindless1 on 8/24/2011 1:01:12 PM , Rating: 2
I'll counter that you cannot be healthy according to BMI unless you are an ectomorph.

Only a very sedentary person, or one with a disease or an eating disorder resulting in inadequate nutrients absorbed or utilized for whatever the reason (which is bad for health) will not have enough muscle mass to put them over the suggested BMI range... it's not just boxers (who on the contrary try to stay within the next lower weight class by losing weight) or weightlifter (who try to increase their carb intake to provide mass muscle fuel).

Generalizing, the BMI scale was made by lab rats who can't understand physical activity and its role on body weight.

I agree that % body fat is a (better) good indicator. While it isn't as easy to measure accurately, ultimate accuracy is not needed, that or even a basic visual assessment of someone's body is better than BMI.

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson

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