Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat SpA and Chrysler Group, announced plans to bring the hecho en Mexico Fiat 500 to China. According to Gasgoo, Marchionne told reporters during the Detroit Auto Show that half of the 120,000 units built in the Toluca factory is destined for North America. The other half will be exported to China and Brazil.
Fiat “hopes that the 500 will help increase its Chinese sales.” Well, good luck.
As you can see from the Chinese Top Ten, there isn’t a huge market in China for Cinquecento-sized vehicles. The Chinese want a real car with a trunk. Sure, some compacts sell, but they have to be really cheap. With freight and a 25 percent customs duty, a Fiat 500 will be a hard sell.
Minis and Smarts are not flying off the lots in China, and they have BMW and Benz brand cachet.