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.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 192 Comments
      RJC
      • 3 Years Ago
      There's no way they even have close to 150 dealers. They barely had a 100 last month, of which many were freshly opened. More so, whoever gave that sales target of 50,000 was smoking crack. You can't START selling cars almost 1/3 of the way through the year with no dealer network or advertising in place. And J. Lo is still a horrible marketing tool.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @RJC
        [blocked]
      Dean Hammond
      • 3 Years Ago
      someone call Roger Penske....thsi reminds me of the Smart car debaucle....well, at least this is a better product.
        RJC
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dean Hammond
        Smart never achieved sales of 2000 units a month, even when gas went over $4. It's just bad marketing, lack of dealer network and I'm sure economic jitters have returned--the market just fell over 250 points today. ALso as someone suggested, give them a chance to grow. Even Viagra sales took some time to go up (ha, I made it funny).
          Dean Hammond
          • 3 Years Ago
          @RJC
          hell, you could force feed Smart Viagra and youd still come up short....
      Warren11050
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think it's due to really poor marketing. Also, Chrysler doesn't know anything about cars. Do you know how many people I know that have absolutely no idea what this cars is? I drove a 500 sport manual... I LOVED IT!!! Drove it like a hooligan and had the salesman peeing in his pants, laughing. I am waiting for the Abarth... Again, totally missed opportunity. Too bad. Great car, just poor handling of the brand.
      Andrew Zotos Breslin
      • 3 Years Ago
      Americans would love to buy these cars if they were priced right. In the compact car segment, we're used to competition that Asian and American brands are delivering, and with the Fiat being the most compact of all, they need to shave at least $5K off the starting price if they expect to get anywhere with the 500. I love the car to death, it's just not worth it. And I heard they plan to jack the prices up once they "get a following"... good luck. Wish I could say FIAT was here to stay..
        cashsixeight
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Andrew Zotos Breslin
        I agree. They should start at 11,999. The kitted up "nice" versions should be 16-17k somewhere, not 22k. 22k is a lot coin, you can get a lot of POWERFUL, fun cars for that $.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @cashsixeight
          [blocked]
        RGT881
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Andrew Zotos Breslin
        Wholeheartedly agree. Who in their right mind would pay $17k-$26k for this? I mean never mind that it's small...that's not the issue...the issue is that it doesn't offer any premium car features in a small package...i.e. Golf, Mini...and these are in same sector. I got my GTI with sat-nav, heated seats, mirrors, leather, etc, it goes like stink, gets superb fuel mileage, and it looks great. So why the 500? with it's stupidly raised for US market rear suspension, no power, and its price point is disastrous for its success! Plus it's the dealer network is appalling. I'm sort of luck because all I'd have to is drive 15 minutes to Birmingham, Michigan if I wanted to pick one up, but many other potential buyers are further deterred from even considering this car. This is yet another example of a terrific product being a) dumbed down b) handling ruined c) over-priced d) poorly marketed e) no dealer support. It's got nothing to do with being small...say what you will about GM, but Spark will succeed...of that I assure you.
      Jefferson Liu
      • 3 Years Ago
      All joking aside, J LO was a really bad choice for the TV Spots. Pretty much just ripped any hope of the car having any appeal, especially with dudes. The cars are fantastic, it's a shame.
      P
      • 3 Years Ago
      Fiat botched the launch of this here so badly it's simply astounding. All of my fellow car marketing people had the same reaction when we saw those J-Lo ads: Jaws open in astonishment. From the moment those ads started, Fiat's future in this country was doomed. Regardless of its size or price, you cannot sell a product when you position the car and alienate so many potential buyers like they are. The fact that they're still running those ads is proof that company is totally, completely deaf to their market.
      Sukairain
      • 3 Years Ago
      Get rid of J Lo and replace her with Justin Bieber and the car will sell like Hawt Cakes. ..........I kid I kid
      rcphototwo
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's made for OOMPA LOOMPAS !
      LUSTSTANG S-197
      • 3 Years Ago
      Maybe it's just too European for American tastes? Some may not want to admit and vote me down with a vengeance, but it is a fact that small cars have traditionally been a tough sell here. It's just not practical for most people in this country. People here are more likely to perceive this as a "toy", as opposed to daily driver.
      sinistro79
      • 3 Years Ago
      When Fiat took over Chrysler, we were all expecting to see Alfa Romeo comes stateside first. Fiat had been promising and postponing Alfa for a decade at that point. Then, all of a sudden, they announced plans to bring the 500 to North America because Fiat had neglected Alfa for so long that they simply didn't have a worthy Alfa product to sell Americans. I am not surprised to see Fiat failing here in the states. They should have never brought them over. Americans want Alfa, not Fiat.
      mrx19
      • 3 Years Ago
      Aside from the crappy marketing, it really is a size issue. Mini nailed it - just big enough not to fall into the clown car category. Then, add the Clubman and Countryman and you were viewed as a legitimate car. The Fiat is simply too small. The thought of having to navigate major cities expressway systems is frightening.
        Dick Trickle
        • 3 Years Ago
        @mrx19
        Again, people keep saying that it's too small, and smaller than the Mini, but if you look at the specs they're basically the same size. In fact the Abarth is longer than the first gen Mini Cooper S. I think they should have introduced the Abarth at the start, If people saw those running around, it would definitely help the image.
          sid1200
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dick Trickle
          The current Gen mini is 1-2 inches longer then Gen 1. Not sure how the Abart is longer if it's the same base body, but a normal 500 is 1 foot shorter then a Mini. Since it's taller it might have the same amount of space inside cu. ft. wise, but leg room width and feel is better in a Mini, at least up front. My mom owns a 07 Mini and I've driven a 500.
        Gilberto Cedolia
        • 3 Years Ago
        @mrx19
        There's more room in 500 both up front and the in backseat than the MINI
          Mike Pulsifer
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Gilberto Cedolia
          Why was that down-voted. It's truth. And verifiable.
      guyverfanboy
      • 3 Years Ago
      Definitely not good news. :(