Much has been made over the one future product announcement in Chrysler’s IPO filing. Apparently, it will be a an SUV based off of the Small Wide platform. A bit of detective work can help us figure out what it will be.
Tag: Fiat 500
I have to admit, I’m a fan of the Fiat 500. Yes, I know it’s just a Fiat Panda with bubbly sheetmetal. Yes I know it’s a little peculiar. Yes I know it’s trying to ride on MINI success. It doesn’t matter, the wee Fiat makes me grin every time I drive one. Whether it’s the slow-as-dirt standard 500, the ludicrously loud Abarth, the almost-convertible 500c or the totally impractical 500e, the Cinquecento knows how to brighten my day. I was therefore excited when Fiat announced the 500’s success would spawn a four door stable-mate for 2014. Is the 500L 40% more smiles for 20% more cash?
Despite being an incredibly small part of the US market share, you don’t have to look far in California’s urban areas to find a car with a plug. The reason for that is California’s controversial EV mandate. California wants 1.4 million EVs and plug-in hybrids on the road by 2025. Up till recently, California’s regulations seemed like a pie-in-the-sky dream with a far-away deadline. That changed last year when CARB (California Air Resources Board) mandated (in a nutshell) a combined 7,500 zero-emission vehicles be sold between 2012 and 2014 by the large auto makers in the state. (Credits and trades are not included in that number.) Come 2018, smaller companies like Volvo, Subaru and Jaguar will have to embrace plug-love and at the same time, most of the silly green credits go out the window. By 2025, if my home state has its way, 15% of new cars will be an EV. In California. This brings us to the little orange 500 Fiat lent us for a week. Because everyone is getting into the EV game, this will be our first EV review where we make no mention of living with an EV, range anxiety or charging station availability. If you want to know about that, click over to our 7-part saga “Living with an EV for a week.”
New and current Honda Fit EV customers can look forward to a reduction in their lease costs.
The next example of the Fiat 500 range, the rather literally named Fiat 500XL, has revealed itself via a leaked photo. It looks a bit like a Fiat 500L that’s all swollen via anaphylaxis. The 500XL may not even make it to North America, but that’s ok. We’ll take the Panda instead. Apparently, the 500XL will have a third row of seats and grow to nearly 170 inches long, making it just barely acceptable for North American tastes. No doubt it will do well in Europe, which is currently in the throes of crossover fever.
Despite overwhelmingly positive press for the Fiat 500e, the electric Fiat is known to be a bete-noir for Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne. Speaking at the SAE Congress last week, Marchionne claimed that Fiat loses $10,000 on each 500e, describing it as “masochism”.
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.
The latest member of the fast-growing “European small crossover club” will likely be the Fiat Panda, which will get a model that will grow in size, to compete against C-Segment SUVs.
The next generation Fiat 500 will no longer be hecho en Mexico for the North American market. Faced with a modern plant and unused capacity, Fiat will consolidate all of its 500 production to its site in Tychy, Poland, in 2015. So what does this mean for Mexico?
What happens when foreigners have been in America for a few years? They start getting fat like Americans. And so it is with the 2014 Fat 500L which has gained mass, two doors and a plumper overall visage. We found a red model strutting its chunky stuff at the back of the Chicago Auto Show For some reason we weren’t allowed inside, but we were able to caress it through the open windows.