Fiat has constructed 1 million new 500 models. The company says that the milestone model rolled off the line at the manufacturer's Fiat Auto Poland facility. The one millionth 500 is a Lounge model with optional three-layer Bianco Perla exterior paint.
2012 Fiat 500
For most of us, a mismatched sock is not something to be celebrated, but then most of us are not pre-teen girls. While we were admittedly unaware that the Punky Brewster look is back in favor among stylish kids, fashion company LittleMissMatched got our attention with its latest promotion: Giving away a Fiat 500 to anyone crazy enough to buy 1,111 "pairs" of socks.
Now that Fiat is officially tied at the hip with Chrysler, it's no surprise to see the Pentastar's aftermarket division take to the diminutive 500 like a honeybee to clovers (sorry). Which explains the 2012 Fiat 500 Stinger, the first Mopar-fettled Fiat ever created.
Chrysler has issued a recall affecting a small number of 2012 Dodge Journey and 2012 Fiat 500 models built between October 24 and 26 of this year. These models – about 340 in total – are being recalled due to contaminated brake fluid that was put in during the vehicles' assembly. According to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, these vehicles "may experience a degradation of the sealing components within the brake system."
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 t
Bloomberg is reporting that Laura Soave, the head of the Fiat brand in North America, is leaving the company. The executive helped usher Fiat back into the U.S. market with the 500, but flagging sales, slow dealer network expansion and marketing disasters have fallen on Soave's shoulders, as have rumors of improper professional relationships. Rumors of her ousting/departure have been swirling for some time, making the announcement of little surprise.
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.
We hear it all the time when we're out test-driving any of the current crop of subcompacts: "Is that little car safe?" Well, if it's a Fiat 500, our answer should be affirmative, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The venerable independent testing agency has issued a Top Safety Pick award to the diminutive Italian cutemobile, which joins the Ford Fiesta as the only minicars to earn such praise.
Chrysler set a hugely ambitious sales goal for the 2012 Fiat 500 here in the United States: 6,000 units per month. It shouldn't come as a surprise, then, to learn that early sales figures aren't exactly meeting expectations thus far, but according to Chrysler, this isn't by any fault of the car.
No new car launch would be complete without a corresponding marketing campaign. But when that launch and campaign are heralding the return of a famed automaker and nameplate to the American market after decades of absence, the marketing team is likely to be an especially important part of the overall success of launch... at least at the outset.
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