Laura Soave with Fiat 500

Turns out Fiat may have been a wee bit ambitious in setting a 50,000-unit goal for the first year that its diminutive 500 hatchback and convertible have been on sale in the United States. Through the month of July, Fiat had sold a total of 7,982 500s in the States in 2011.

That figure includes 3,038 units sold in the month of July, but the monthly tally should continue to rise as more and more dealerships open in markets expected to snatch up the cute and spunky little hatch.

Laura Soave, the woman Fiat chief Sergio Marchionne has put in charge of the Fiat brand in America, isn't ready to completely dismiss the company's original 50,000-sale projection, saying instead that it "probably" won't reach that goal. Much of the problem can be traced back to early Fiat franchise dealer openings. "We missed the whole first quarter," Soave told Bloomberg, referring to the fact that just 12 of the 130 planned dealerships were open to the public by the end of February.

In an effort to jumpstart sales, Fiat is rolling out a number of intensified marketing campaigns, which you can read more about here. On the plus side, the brand has some major plans in the works for the U.S. market, and at least the automaker is making good money on the 500s it has sold so far.