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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 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 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
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. :)

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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