By on April 17, 2013

California consumers interested in a Fiat 500e will be getting a sweetheart deal from Fiat; a $199 lease for 36 months with a $999 down payment.

At retail, the car will cost $32,500 plus a $7,500 tax credit. But as the Los Angeles Times reports, customers who lease won’t be able to collect the tax credit.

Those leasing the car can also get a special $2,500 rebate that California offers for electric cars, which will cover the down payment and about six lease payments.

Fiat’s move is an agressive one. Nissan recently cut the base price of the Leaf  to$28,800, or $6,400 less than it was in 2012. Nissan also offers 36-month lease deal of $199 a month and a $1,999 down payment. But the Leaf is sold nationwide, unlike the 500e, which is limited to California only. The reason for this is economic. Fiat stands to lose money on every single 500e, and is only selling the car to comply with California emissions standards. Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has gone on record with his displeasure over the 500e’s money-losing nature, telling Automotive News

“I will try to sell the required numbers for me to optimize compliance with the emission standards and not one more.”

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22 Comments on “Fiat Pushing $199 Lease For 500e...”


  • avatar
    carrya1911

    So….we have regulations forcing the creation of an expensive car the manufacturer doesn’t want to produce and few want to buy, and to remedy this taxpayers are subsidizing the lease or purchase of the vehicle.

    Seems rather silly to me.

    • 0 avatar
      Speed3

      As public policy its kind of a failure. California and the Federal government may as well just spend the consumer subsidies on more cost-effective environmental measures. But nothing I can do…

      But that is a pretty nice deal on the 500e. If you every considered an electric vehicle, this is the deal to get. While the 500 is a perfect car for where I live (San Francisco), I unfornuately park on the street and would have no cosntant access to an electrical charger. Keep in mind that the most likely demographic for an electric vehicle is a household which is using it as a second car and likely owns or rents their own home.

      Considering that the 500 is a city car, not a lot of overlap between the two groups who would benefit from an electric car, and a 500.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    This is something I would jump on if it were available where I live. The tipping point is that $2500 rebate. I’m not in the market for a car but it’s almost a no-brainer.
    Honestly, I’d probably try any of the EVs for those terms, but the 500e would probably be toward the top of my wish list.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I know! I really wish that this car were feasible for me. But the only way I’d do it is if they had anything remotely resemblant of an EV-recharging infrastructure in my state…which they do not. The only charging station that I know of is at a major university fifty minutes from where I live…

  • avatar
    gslippy

    This is too bad at several levels:

    1. This EV has the best instrumentation of any EV I’ve seen, but few will get to enjoy it.

    2. What a sorry job, designing a vehicle your boss doesn’t support.

    3. One test drive I’ve read was very positive on this car’s performance, and they much preferred its responsive drivetrain to the lethargic 1.4 500 or even the 1.4T in the 500 Abarth. But it won’t matter, given its limited distribution.

    4. The 500 is still too small; it’s really just a two-seater.

    5. If Sergio didn’t want to build this car, he’d have been better off doing something about the rest of the product line to meet CAFE requirements. Wait, I thought the Dart was the silver bullet for this problem.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I disagree on #4. While it certainly isn’t big, the back seat is reasonably usable for kids, and even a couple adults for short jaunts.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Agreed, I have had my rather hefty 6’2″ self, an equally tall friend, and two more average size guys in the back of mine. It’s no limo, but it is WAY better for four than a mini or most other small cars. And really, the 500 is not THAT small, it is just SHORT – it has more interior space by far than the ’84 Jetta GLI that I drove all through college and beyond. Short, relatively wide, and tall.

        The FIAT is also an amazingly accomplished highway cruiser for a small car. The Abarth in particular rides astonishingly well considering the cornering capability.

    • 0 avatar
      bjchase55

      In regards to your fifth point, I’m not sure this has to do with CAFE, at least not completely. This is probably more as a slap in the face in regards to the 15% of all vehicles sold in California by 2025 are required to produce no emissions.

      Taken from LLN: As California’s rules currently stand, General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan and Honda would be require to sell a combined 60,000 plug-in, battery-electric and fuel-cell vehicles in the state through 2014. Hyundai, Kia, Daimler, Volkswagen, BMW and Mazda would be subject to those regulations by 2018.

  • avatar
    fordcomm

    I’ve seen this car myself and it is sharp. I’ve talked to people who’ve driven it on a test track and they say it is very fast off the line, since all of it’s 144 lb-ft of torque is available immediately, making it faster than the 500 Lounge with a conventional gas engine. While its 0-60 mph time of 9.1 seconds won’t exactly light up the tires, it is, by all accounts, a surprisingly quick and responsive little car.

  • avatar
    redav

    The eFocus also has (had?) an aggressive lease program. It was cheaper to lease than the comparable ICE.

  • avatar

    I’m going to do some math here for cost comparison, using the best data I can scrounge up on short notice, as the Scion iQ has a special lease going as well… bear with me:

    Fiat 500e 36 month lease cost: $8163
    Scion iQ 36 month lease cost: $5533

    Fiat 500e uses 29 kwh per 100 miles, or $4.35
    Scion iQ uses 2.7 gallons per 100 miles, or $10.80

    Assuming these are both 12,000 mile per year leases:
    The Fiat 500e will cost $1566 in electricity
    The Scion iQ will cost $3888 in gas

    Lease and fuel combined costs:
    Fiat 500e: $9729
    Scion iQ: $9421

    Drawbacks of leasing the Fiat 500e: range anxiety, cost
    Drawbacks of leasing the Scion: more maintenance costs, being seen in public driving a Scion iQ

    Even with the range issues, I’d still have to go with the Fiat.

    • 0 avatar

      “being seen in public…”
      Are there any special lease deals for the Aston Martin iQ?
      ;o]

    • 0 avatar

      Oops, my bad. The Scion lease is already back up to $139. Adding that $1440 to the Scion makes me like it even less.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      Excellent comparison, this is how I looked at the electric car option as well. I would love to get a 500E, but since I don’t live in Cali this isn’t an option for me. How does the Leaf deal figure into your calculations?

    • 0 avatar
      blowfish

      the feeling of your car going to stop any minute is totally priceless!
      everything else u can put on mastercard.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Don’t electric car owners generally also have to pay for a 220-volt charger to be installed in their residence?

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        Generally, yes.

        I bought an excellent Schneider Electric unit from Home Depot for $750 and installed it myself.

        Technically, you could just use the 110 charger that comes with the car, but it’s slow and clumsy. In my case, for normal charging, Nissan recommends the faster rate of a 220 charger.

        If you’re not handy, you’ll pay up to $2k for a home charger (installed). If you’re a hospital in the City of Pittsburgh, you’ll foolishly pay $6k/each for chargers (outdoor-rated, but that’s just a change to some cheap mechanical parts).

  • avatar
    Andrew Nevick

    I’m not sure the LA Times is correct that you don’t get the $7500 tax credit when you lease – I have been looking into getting a Leaf in the last week or so (this close to pulling the trigger now…) and everything I have read suggests that you do get the credit as long as you lease for 36 months or more. Perhaps they have been caught up in the technicality of it, because when you lease it will not be you yourself who gets the credit, but the leasing company who is technically purchasing the car – you still have the value knocked off the price though. I can’t see why the 500 would be any different to the Leaf in this respect.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      When I leased my Leaf in September, Nissan simply takes the Federal $7500 tax credit for themselves, and so it comes off the MSRP. This is nice because the buyer doesn’t have to worry about qualifying on his income taxes.

  • avatar
    probert

    Always hard to know what Marchionne is up to with comments like these. Remember his disparaging remarks about the sweetheart govt. loans he got. Maybe he’s dumb like a fox, what with a lot of free publicity.

    Ford is smart – they don’t comment on the 5 Billion they got from the DOE – and they look like heroes (and the CEO can get paid $21,000,000 without commenters noticing).

    Marchionne should learn from that. Sharp dresser though – we could all learn from that.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    A Fiat product, which has never been a company known for robust electrical systems which redesigned by Chrysler who usually scores low in quality rankings, in Detroit to fit Americans, an built in Mexico and powered by an electric drivetrain. What could possibly go wrong?


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