2012 Fiat 500

The Fiat 500 may have taken overseas markets by storm, but that isn't quite the case here in North America, where a delayed rollout, overly optimistic sales projections and related issues have hampered the retro supermini's sales. So much so, in fact, that Chrysler has reportedly had to stop production of the 1.4-liter engine that powers the Cinquecento until demand catches up to supply. As a result, it has had to lay off a portion of the employees that build it.

The exact layoff numbers are in dispute, but according to a new Automotive News report, Chrysler itself pegs the number at 30 while the United Auto Workers' local representative says it's more like 100. Fiat initially pegged its sales projections at 50,000 units this year, but as of just a couple of weeks ago, it had barely sold 16,000.

Will the advertising campaign with Jennifer Lopez and the launch of the 500 Abarth performance model help the Fiat's numbers climb? Only time will tell, but one way or another, it won't come fast enough for the workers waiting at home by the phone.
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