AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — The subcompact that reintroduced the Fiat brand to the U.S. and Canada in 2011 has rolled its last unit off Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Toluca, Mexico, assembly line, the factory announced.
“FIAT will discontinue production of the current-generation Fiat 500 and 500e in North America. Current inventory of the 2019 Fiat 500 and 500e will last into 2020,” executives said in a statement. “In North America, FIAT will continue to offer the new Italian-designed, fun-to-drive Fiat 500X all-wheel-drive compact crossover, the Fiat 124 Spider roadster, and the five-passenger Fiat 500L utility vehicle.”
FCA’s statement failed to mention which vehicles will replace the 500, the electric 500e, and the 500 Abarth at the Toluca plant. The announcement likely signals a shift in resources to larger vehicles in FCA’s stable, including Ram pickups and Jeep SUVs, as overall sales slow.
The automaker’s most recent sales report showed U.S. sales of the Fiat brand fell 34.6% in June and 38% in the first half of 2019 on a year-over-year basis. Fiat sold 5,370 500s in 2018, fewer than half the number sold the year before.
“The 500 wasn’t Fiat’s worst seller. In fact, as of June, it was leading the Italian brand’s sales.”
But the decision to delete Fiat’s flagship model “strikes us as a bit strange” despite its odd fit in a “crossover-consumed market,” said Autoblog’s Joel Stocksdale, who was first to report the news.
“But the 500 wasn’t Fiat’s worst seller. In fact, as of June, the most recent month for sales data available, it was leading the Italian brand’s sales,” Stocksdale wrote. “The 500L has actually been the worst seller so far this year, with only 399 being sold through June, which is a drop of 56% versus last year. The 500X, a crossover, is trailing the 500 and the 124 with 1,484 sales, a drop of 54% compared to last year."
Originally posted on Auto Dealer Today