Rare Rides: All New Fiat Models, Apparently
The Downward Spiral wasn’t just a groundbreaking Nine Inch Nails album — it also aptly describes Fiat’s current sales trajectory in North America. (Sorry for the headline, Corey.)
With January 2018 figures out of the bag, the state of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Fiat brand becomes ever clearer, though we’ve known it was in trouble for some time. Reintroduced in this market in early 2011, the four-model brand continued its downhill sales slide last month, with corporate cousin Alfa Romeo outselling it for the second consecutive month.
How bad is it?
Year over year, the quintessentially Italian small car brand saw its sales fall 43 percent to 1,229 units. Each model — the 500 city car, 500L tall wagon, 500X small crossover, and 124 Spider roadster — saw a year-over-year drop, though the 500L’s decline amounted to a gap of just two vehicles.
The brand has come a long way since its best U.S. sales year of 2014. In that long-ago year, some 46,121 Americans took home a Fiat. North of the border, 2012 was the brand’s year, with 2014 a close second. In the U.S., each year since that peak has brought a decline. Last year saw 26,492 Fiats sold, despite the mid-2016 introduction of the Spider.
To look at it another way, U.S. Fiat sales have fallen, year over year, for 25 consecutive months.
For the 500, January’s 63 percent sales drop bears some explaining. Both American and Canadian Fiat websites still list the 2017 model, sparking rumors of its demise, though worldwide production of the 2018 model is shifting to a single production facility in Poland. North American models have vacated FCA’s Toluca, Mexico assembly plant in order to free up capacity for more important models. The new model is supposed to appear by the middle of this year.
The Serbian-built 500L sold 104 units in the U.S. last month and exactly zero in Canada. (Making it all the more odd that I saw two of them last weekend.) 2017’s U.S. tally of 1,664 500Ls is 86.6 percent lower than 2012’s 12,413 units. Canadians bought 42 500Ls last year, down more than a little from 2014’s 2,461 units.
The attractive little 500X, which shares its underpinnings with the Jeep Renegade, also can’t find any love. Its U.S. sales sunk 19 percent, year over year, in January. It was the model’s 19th consecutive sales drop. Sales in the Great White North fell 90.2 percent, year over year, to 11 units.
January is never a great month for convertibles in North America, but the newest addition to Fiat’s lineup, the 124 Spider, posted declines on both sides of the border — 23.8 percent in the U.S. and 69 percent in Canada, where last month’s tally stood at 13 vehicles.
There’s no new product in sight for the disappearing brand, just a trio of minor refreshes. After the 500 this year, 2019 brings a 500X refresh with a facelifted Spider arriving the year after. Will it have a brand to arrive to? That’s for buyers to decide.
[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]
More by Steph Willems
Latest Car ReviewsRead more
Latest Product ReviewsRead more
- SCE to AUX Another outsourced battery goes awry.
- Jkross22 Nah, If I needed a truck, I'd get a Nissan titan or for nearly the same money a 20 yr old SR5.
- Kwik_Shift No. It is hideous and jarring to look at. Why would I need this anyway?
- Jeff From the side profile this gives off Taurus wagon vibes. Nice looking wagon love the exterior color and the interior. The burled walnut interior trim is beautiful.
- Jeff I think initially there will be a lot of orders for this truck and then sales will crater. Those that want this truck mainly the Tesla fans will buy them and then anyone that wanted one will have already bought one. The Cybertruck kind of reminds me of the Delorean which was widely anticipated and once it was out and those who wanted a Delorean bought one that was the end. Both the Delorean and Cybertruck are stainless steel and both are weird looking. Maybe they could release a new Back to the Future sequence and have Doc drive a Cybertruck.