2012 Fiat 500C
  • 2012 Fiat 500C
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  • 2012 Fiat 500C
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The poor Fiat 500. The adorable three-door hasn't exactly been the resounding success Fiat had hoped, missing sales projections by a wide margin. As you may recall, the company managed to sell just 17,945 units between March and December of 2011. That's a far cry from 50,000 units annually the company projected before the 500 landed in dealerships. But, according to Polk, things may not be as bad as they seem. While it's true that the 500 managed to pull down just four percent of the subcompact car segment, the results look a bit rosier when you compare the 500 to other three-door B-segment offerings.

In that admittedly small group, the 500 did quite well, pulling down 27 percent of all sales and landing in second place behind the Mini Cooper. The plucky Italian even manged to best the Hyundai Accent and Toyota Yaris. Still, as Polk points out, that's a good portion of a very small corner of the total subcompact segment, and an even thinner slice of the American car market.

The upcoming five-door 500 will likely give Fiat an extra edge, though whether the vehicle helps the automaker crest its 50,000 unit goal remains to be seen.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 88 Comments
      ftpaddict
      • 2 Years Ago
      I like how you completely fail to mention that you're only referring to the US market. There's a big waiting list for Fiat 500s in Europe.
        Dayv
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ftpaddict
        Well, this is an American-market-focused blog.
      aatbloke1967
      • 2 Years Ago
      Considering this is the only A-segment car on sale in the US (don't count the iQ or ForTwo - they're sub-A) and that it's a premium A-segment model at that, I reckon 18K units in a market which is generally both ambivolent and apprehensive towards very small hatchbacks is a success. The problem was essentially twofold: a ridiculously optimistic and frankly naive sales target, and an incomprehensible method of established dealers. For example, why Fiat chose to open a studio in delapidated Youngstown, Ohio of all places almost a year before opening one in the Greater Pittsburgh area - which is booming economically right now - only God knows.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @aatbloke1967
        [blocked]
        aatbloke1967
        • 2 Years Ago
        @aatbloke1967
        "The ForTwo is a "premium" sub-A - it's awfully expensive for how little car you get." But it originates in Europe, which doesn't have the mindset that price should have direct correleation to the amount of sheetmetal you get. Novelty and technology have a part to play. The engineering behind the Tridion safety cell, and the double floors of the equally pricey Mercedes A-Class, are what you're paying for.
        Bret Frohwein
        • 2 Years Ago
        @aatbloke1967
        even the sales leader in the B segment, the fiesta sells less than 5K a month.. the sub-c market is just so tiny here overall
      regionrat
      • 2 Years Ago
      Comparing this to the sales of the Yaris and Accent is quite misleading. The 3-door Yaris and Accent have been phased out for 5-door models.
      gtv4rudy
      • 2 Years Ago
      All lot of Fiat 500s were sold in Canada and by far Quebec bought most of them. They love their small cars up there especially if its European.
      donnieorama
      • 2 Years Ago
      That's some mighty good rationalization... 'If we didn't sell many cars, we still had to beat SOMEone in sales.'
      Jim
      • 2 Years Ago
      Seems the biggest problem is dealerships or lack there of. We have two scheduled to open but if I wanted to buy one now I would have to travel to buy one. With gas prices rising, more people may be looking at it. People in the US have got to start learning that we can not expect to have low gas prices for ever.
      Avinash Machado
      • 2 Years Ago
      For a new brand, it seems to be selling quite well.
      Ron
      • 2 Years Ago
      The problem is that in the USA, they are trying to sell Fiats like they are something they are not... Fiats are the kia's of Europe. They are the cheap cars, the "I couldn't afford xyz, so i got the fiat" cars.... here they are trying to blow them up to be some kind of premium brand, and frankly... they are far too expensive for what you get.
        Rick
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ron
        Frankly, you don't know what you're talking about...
          tump
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Rick
          so, gadflyujczc, you got fired is it?
        aatbloke1967
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ron
        "Fiats are the kia's of Europe." Having spent most of my life in Europe - and having owned several Fiats - I would say this statement is poppycock. Fiat rivals the other European mainstreams such as PSA, Opel, Renault, VW and Ford. And they're certainly not cheap.
        phoenix_AE
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ron
        Mercedes in Europe, Asia, and South America sells trim levels at price points below what you will ever see in the US. Comparing the US market to others worldwide is just ridiculous. The comparison between Fiat and Kia is interesting though: Kia is a nameplate that is *rapidly* going from "eww, nasty little POS" to "hey, that's a pretty nice car." If I needed a small car on a tight budget, I'd have to consider the Forte. The Soul is funky and cool (though the hamster ads are getting a bit old). The Fiat 500 in Europe is a cult car from a mainstream company, and my recent trips to England and France showed me lots of them on the street. I expect sales in the US to increase in direct proportion to the number of dealerships.
      Alex Brown
      • 2 Years Ago
      The 500 is actually A-segment, so I think that makes it class leader.
        chickenflauta
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Alex Brown
        Lol. But you know Americans lump everything smaller than a Camry into the same "small car" segment.
        montoym
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Alex Brown
        Very true.The iQ and the smart are the only other A-Segment cars available in the US no?
          Shiftright
          • 2 Years Ago
          @montoym
          Those two are much smaller and sub-A city cars
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @montoym
          I think that's true. Until the Spark gets here later this year.
      SamerIraq
      • 2 Years Ago
      Frankly i started to hate any news about this over over over over hyped car, i dont know what is all this hype about ????? again, it is just a child's shoe
      SethG
      • 2 Years Ago
      This car was only a flop relative to Fiat's own ridiculous projections. If you compare the 500 sales to the number sold in 2010, you have a very different story. If you consider that most Americans who remember the brand, don't remember if fondly, you have a very different story. If you consider that most Americans couldn't tell you where to find a Fiat showroom, you have a very different story. I'd say this car is off to a decent start.
        Fazzster
        • 2 Years Ago
        @SethG
        Agreed. Considering the lack of dealers, the size of the car in relation to the average overweight American, Fiats bad reputation for the older folk, a "new" brand for the younger folk, botched marketing campaign and late to open dealerships.....it sold really well and deserves to. it is a brilliant car. A lot of the negative comments on this blog remind me of my children at dinner time; they never tried what is put before them and somehow they say it is gross. Car enthusiasts should broaden their horizons.
          Stevelovescars
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Fazzster
          Fazzster, I agree with your comments. I live in Northern California, near Sacramento, and the first dealership in this area didn't even open until late in the summer and if I hadn't been looking to find it I would never had known it existed. Fiat's own site didn't even list the "studio" as existing for a month or two after it had opened its doors. I like the little car and I also happened to rent one recently while on business and thought it was perfectly fine on the freeway. The word "scary" never entered into my mind, I was actually surprised by how quiet and comfortable it was cruising at 75 mph relative to my expectations. The base model, at $16k with destination and alloys isn't overpriced in my mind, especially considering all of the standard features and relative to a base Mini. It's just when you start loading it up with other options like leather and the like that it gets expensive, but that can certainly be said for the Mini as well. I'd be curious about the mix they are selling. Locally, for example, it seemed that demand for manual transmissions was high while dealer inventories were loaded with automatics.
      mikemaj82
      • 2 Years Ago
      scary car to drive on the highway on a windy day.....
        Shiftright
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mikemaj82
        Maybe you should stay home in case your mullet gets messed up. Also, welcome to 2012 and this thing we call aerodynamics and electronic stability program. Igorant comment fail.
        Mike Pulsifer
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mikemaj82
        Been there, done that. Not scared.
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