Union workers at the Fiat 500L factory in Serbia (the same factory that built those fancy Yugos) have been demanding raises and the addition of another model for months. The union representing those workers has promised it will work with the manufacturer to meet worker demands. But, if the latest newsletter is any indication of progress, there’s been none: the union hasn’t even been able to get the company to the bargaining table.
The union newsletter has gotten shorter over the past few months, and the February version is now down to a single page. The news items are both disappointing and somewhat comical as there only a few lines dedicated to the workers’ interests.
New product is not fueling renewed American interest in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ namesake Fiat brand.
The 500X, the latest product added to Fiat’s U.S. lineup, was clearly the brand’s best-selling model in November 2015, but sales at the brand slipped three percent, a modest drop of 82 units. Rewind one year and Fiat’s lineup featured only two nameplates: the 500 with which the brand relaunched in 2011, and the 30-month-old 500L. Adding the 500X, a true subcompact crossover, brought in 1,833 buyers in November 2015.
But the 500 and 500L combined to generate 1,915 fewer sales in November 2015 than in November 2014, astounding losses for a brand which in November of last year suffered a twelve-month sales low.
The Fiat brand’s figures in November 2015 were worse. (Read More…)
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has released the results of its latest round of small offset crash tests. This latest group of twelve cars posted a wide range of scores, highlighting the challenging nature of the Institute’s newest test. Only one car earned a “Good” rating from the Institute for this test, with several receiving the lowest score of “Poor.”
FCA has been trying to broaden the appeal of its Fiat line in the US. Success may be a ways off, into the future, or at least won’t materialize until the Jeep Renegade and Fiat 500X are launch. But that won’t stop the Italians from trying. In a bid to show off its minivan as a viable alternative for active young folks, Fiat will introduce its 500L Vans edition at the upcoming US Open – of surfing (yes, surfing, not the famous tennis tournament).
“Cheap and cheerful.” It’s a phrase the Brit mags like to use all the time to describe poverty-priced cars that attempt to use design and color to mask their humble aspirations. Think Scion xB compared to Toyota Tercel — but nobody does the C&C music factory like the Europeans. The original Twingo set the template, but it’s had many a riff played on it since then.
Now we have a cheap-and-cheerful from a Euro manufacturer, built in Serbia, with as much design and flair as you can stand. Whether it’s the worst car for sale in America or one of the best depends entirely on how cheerful you need your cheap to be.
Fiat Punto, not long for this world.
Sources tell Bloomberg News that Fiat Spa will spend as much as 9 billion euros ($12 billion) over the next three years developing new models for for the European market. The Italian automaker hopes the strategy will end losses on the continent and restore drastically underutilized Italian factories to profitability. Many of the new models will be based on either the Fiat 500 subcompact or the small, low cost Panda. A five door version of the 500 will replace the Punto. The Punto, last restyled in 2005, has long been a fixture in Fiat showrooms and as recently as 2007 it accounted for almost a third of the Fiat brand’s sales in Europe.
Though Fiat wants to use its Italian factories better, the Punto’s replacement will be built in Poland to save on costs. Sergio Marchionne believes that “made in Italy” works with upscale brands like Maserati and Alfa Romeo. The upcoming Maserati Levante SUV will be made in Fiat’s Mirafiori factory. (Read More…)
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.
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?
Buyers hankering for a more macho alternative to the Buick Encore won’t have to wait too long for something to fill that void. According to Edmunds, an all-new Jeep, similar in size to the Encore, will debut next year.
Hours after I longed for a return of the Fiat Multipla, Fiat delivered. The 500L Living will be a true MPV, carrying seven. The last Multipla only carried six. It will be a bit longer than our 500L and have the option of a 0.9L TwinAir engine, two diesels or a naturally aspirated 1.4L gasoline engine making 95 horsepower. I’ll pass. It’s not ugly enough to stoke my boiler. But it’s not coming to North America anyways.