The 2012 Fiat 500 seems to be having trouble gaining sales momentum. Automotive News reports that the Italian hatch is likely to fall well short of its admittedly very ambitious 50,000 unit sales target this year. The model hit the market back in March and has only sold 15,826 units through October. The report also says that of the 150 Fiat dealers in the States, 29 didn't sell a single one last month (presumably at least some of them haven't shifted a vehicle because they were late opening in the first place). Either way, that's a lot of sales people looking longingly out of the show room glass. As a result, Chrysler is now offering a $500 rebate on the vehicle in an effort to entice buyers as the year comes to a close.
More alarmingly, Automotive News says that it has obtained internal company documents that indicates Chrysler has around a half-year supply of 500 models on hand if sales continue at their current pace. The automaker has even begun to scale back production in light of slow demand, reassigning 65 workers at the Dundee, Michigan plant responsible for assembling 500 engines.
Sergio Marchionne, Chrysler's CEO, says that the problem lies with the distribution network, while dealers claim that American buyers aren't interested in such a small vehicle. It remains to be seen whether the addition of the Jennifer Lopez-led national advertising campaign and the arrival of the 500 Abarth and related lifestyle models like the Gucci will result in a meaningful increase in sales.