By on February 5, 2018

2017 Fiat 124 Spider Lusso - Image: FCA

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?

It’s bad.

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.

fiat cabrio abarth 500

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.

2017 Fiat 500L - Image: FCA

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.

2017 Fiat 500X Trekking

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]

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79 Comments on “Rare Rides: All New Fiat Models, Apparently...”


  • avatar

    RAGE!!!!!!!

  • avatar
    brettc

    I might just buy a 500 Abarth this summer, but of course it’ll be used because why would I want to spend over $20K on a new one when I can find a used one for 10K or less?

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Go for it. Mine’s been a hoot over the last two years, solid, reliable, and is going to cost me my driver’s license yet. I bought mine originally as a compromise between a daily driver and a sports car, and find I’m using it like a sports car: Never out on wet roads or bad weather, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      Charles Clement

      I bought a new Fiat500 Abarth in 2012,and I still love it. It still looks band new.I did some modifications,and it’s now much faster,and never a reliability issue. Plan to keep it for ever.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    I want to drive a Fiat like an animal.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      “I want to drive a Fiat like an animal.”

      Do it!

      New, they’re quite affordable. If you can find one a year or so used with reasonably low mileage then you get a SCREAMING deal! I drove a 500Pop for 2 years and never had any reliability problems (and only one minor physical problem) in heavy use. Bought it with 6k on the clock and traded it with about 20K more because my wife needed an AWD for winter driving and wouldn’t drive a stick. Both our other vehicles were stick (one a Wrangler) so had to sacrifice the fun car for something more practical. Went to look at an X but didn’t even get that far as she had me turn in at a Jeep dealer… where she bought a Renegade.

    • 0 avatar
      Charles Clement

      Hope it’s female animal lol

    • 0 avatar
      Land Ark

      I dunno, when I see the current Fiat lineup all I see is a march of the pigs.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Come and gone, just like before. What was Fiat hoping to achieve in the US market?

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      I believe the purpose of bringing over the 500 was to fulfill the promise made to the Obama administration of making a high MPG car available as a condition of being handed Chrysler. Mission accomplished, Trump doesn’t care about fuel economy, FCA has the company, expect the plug to be pulled any time now.

      • 0 avatar
        sirwired

        I’m not buying that theory. There are much cheaper and effective ways of offering a compliance-mobile than trying to introduce a new brand to the North American market.

        • 0 avatar
          formula m

          He had to promise to use existing fiat platforms and revive Fiat/Alfa brands in order to take over as CEO. He had to be in charge at Fiat before he was given Chrysler.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Maybe, maybe not. The Fiat dealers in my area don’t look like fly by night affairs.

        Remember, Mini was all the rage back in the Aughts. They probably figured they had a niche brand opportunity. Unfortunately, all niches (including Mini) not named “crossover” took an epic dive soon thereafter.

        (And when are we going to stop the “the 200, the Dart and Fiat were all sops to Obama” nonsense around here? Those cars all flopped because they stunk. FCA should thank its’ lucky stars we haven’t dipped back into recession and/or seen $4 gas again.)

        • 0 avatar
          Sub-600

          I had a 2014 Dart GT and it was a great car, the 2.4 wasn’t the most powerful engine in the world but it did the job. My car was loaded but the standard equipment list was impressive as it was. Why’d I get rid of it? Sergio ran his mouth and I had to trade it in quickly before it wasn’t worth anything.

        • 0 avatar
          snakebit

          The newest Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart weren’t bad cars-they were just in a very competitive market against Toyota and Honda, and old buying habits die hard. At worst, they didn’t offer anything(except maybe selling price-maybe) special compared to Accord, Camry, Civic, and Corolla. Even those martinet car buyers who tell us they only buy American-built cars built by truly American car companies stayed away from Chrysler and Dodge car dealers, though they didn’t stay away from Ram truck dealers when looking for a truck!

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          ” FCA should thank its’ lucky stars we haven’t dipped back into recession and/or seen $4 gas again.”

          We’re headed there now and FCA may just have an advantage with its less expensive, more economical and simply FUN cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Garrett

        It was actually the Dodge Dart that fulfilled that promise.

        The 500 had potential, but Fiat as a brand needed to be more than a one trick pony. Hey, MINI, you taking notes?

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Dodge Dart Aero to be precise – 40 mpg hwy.

          I have seen exactly one in the wild in my lifetime and it was already visually modified, which is a funny thing to see for the “MPG Special”.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Garrett,
          I’m surprised Mini didn’t introduce a new version of the Mini Moke for the beach and outdoorsy types.

          A reintroduced Moke, if done correctly could of taken a piece of the Wrangler hairdresser set action. You know the majority who buy a Wrangler to look pretty in.

          A Mini Moke Californian with a Cooper S engine.

          https://classicregister.com/id-guides/how-identify-1978-1982-leyland-mini-moke-californian-1275cc

  • avatar
    notapreppie

    I’d seriously consider a 124 if I were ever in the market for a convertible. Which I won’t be. Ever.

  • avatar
    daviel

    I owned a Fiat 124 Sport and a 128 long time ago. I wrecked the 124 in a week. I loved the 128 – great car. The clutch cable broke on the way home from the dealership, and kind of had a habit of breaking. Wife left it idling in the driveway with the choke full out and it burned up. “Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?” I still like the 128; great driving car. I saw a red 124 Spider on the road yesterday, and it’s great looking in person. I’d buy a 124.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “Wife left it idling in the driveway with the choke full out and it burned up.”

      I do believe that’s a Premium Select post for this week.

    • 0 avatar
      Mullholland

      My first semi-new car was a ’73 Fiat 128 SL coupe bought in 1974. Deep Navy Blue with tan faux-leather interior. Lots of fun to drive. Comfortable and pretty roomy even though the rear seat backs wouldn’t fold down. Mine had a voracious appetite for electronic fuel pumps. So easy to switch out I could do the job in under 10 minutes, usually on the shoulder of most any California freeway with a philips screw driver and a crescent wrench. Often wearing three-piece suit. Good times.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        The 128 SL – was that also known as the 128 3P (the one with the weird vertical taillights)? I was a 128 fan, too, though I never owned one.

        • 0 avatar
          stuart

          Gosh, this is arcane…

          No, the 128SL had a trunk, and the 3P had a proper (huge) hatchback.

          I hauled a full-sized portable dishwasher with my 3P once. Not something I’d want to do every day, but it’s remarkable that such a large appliance would fit inside such a small car. Yes, I was able to close the hatch.

          My 128s were a blast to drive. (And there is a fix for the clutch cables, and the fuel pumps.)

    • 0 avatar
      ernest

      My 124 caught fire in downtown Portland in the wee hours… with me in it. Swore off of them ever since. It’s been over 40 years, but I still remember looking under the dash thinking “dang those are bright courtesy lights!”

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        “My 124 caught fire in downtown Portland in the wee hours… with me in it. Swore off of them ever since.”

        So you’re going to base a modern car-buying decision on a 40-year-old event with what was probably a used car at the time, right?

    • 0 avatar
      northeaster

      Don’t assume it was the choke.

      I slandered my 128 in the comments section of the “worst car you ever owned” article a few days ago by complaining about the rupture of a rubber fuel line to the carb.

      With everything conveniently hidden under the air cleaner housing, it was impossible to see what was coming in a 2 year old car that ended up with a significant puddle of gasoline on top of the engine when I tried to start it. Amazing it didn’t go up in flames.

      I believe it was part of the broader problem of rubber malaise in the cars: every brake seal and gasoline line (including the filler to the fuel tank) seemed to require replacement in the first three years.

      Oh, and I did two clutch cables too…

  • avatar
    slap

    Not surprised by the drop in 124 sales. It came out a year ago, so those sales were pent up demand. Current sales are now going to be far more effected by the weather – convertible sales are slow in the winter.

  • avatar
    bluegoose

    It’s time for Lapo Elkan to take over the marketing and breath new life into the brand.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Steph so diligently reported on every model but forgot to mention that 124 Spider is built at the great Mazda factory in Hiroshima Japan. So, go get it boys. Its a Mazda with Fiat engine.

    Now. Fiat managers are delusional. This is America. It is broad country with craze for powerful cars. May be the strategy in US should be – less stores and stores only in metro areas. What is the purpose of this car and having a dealer next door if I live in the area where 80% driving highway? Look at Giulia – they sell more of those because that thing got the juice and space for mostly overweight country.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      slavuta,
      I think you’ll find one of the biggest reasons for the larger engine vehicles in the US is the cost of owning and operating one.

      It’s about cost, the US isn’t alone for wanting powerful vehicles.

      Just because a country is full of small vehicles doesn’t mean much. It’s what’s affordable for them to operate.

      Sort, of like asking why is it in some countries many ride bicycles and small motorbikes. It’s not that they prefer these forms of transport, it’s just all they can afford.

      Remember, food and roof over your head out weighs the desire for a powerful vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        Everything you said is correct. But then again, the bottom line, in America we can afford and we are not regulated to 3 cylinders and gas is relatively cheap. So, in America at this time Fiat got no business to do. And then, I looked at the map of nearest large city, and what do I see? Nearest Fiat dealer is 15 mi and out of state. Nearest in-state dealer 30 mi. So, it doesn’t make sense. Where I live, people drive luxury cars, Grand Cherokees, Mustangs, etc. The city dwellers who would buy it, don’t have such opportunity. They all buy Toyonda – Fit/Yaris because those dealers are within 3-4 miles.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          slatuta,
          Have you ever left the county you live in, let alone travelled abroad?

          I think you’ll be amazed at what is out there.

          I can name a number of countries where your comment is quite inaccurate.

          Yes the US has a number of large engine vehicles, but they are mainly in heavy, large vehicles, thus reducing the advantage of all that power.

          Just having the biggest in class, doesn’t mean or make for the best.

          You have to admit also, most of the large engined vehicles in the US are of rather mediocre quality. So, yes you are paying for what you have, like elsewhere in the world.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            Oh, travel abroad. In this day and age this is not required… thanks to internet. We spoke of Italy. Check this out

            Car tax

            As an EU national, if you want to register and use your car in Italy, you must pay the following taxes:

            – registration taxes (Imposta provinciale di Trascrizione)
            – road tax (Bollo auto)

            All categories of vehicles are subject to registration taxes.

            The vehicle must be less than 2000cc if running on petrol, less than 2800cc if on diesel.

            Additional taxes may be levied, for instance, on luxury cars.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Hardly any different here in the US, slavuta. Engine size in itself may not be taxed here, but there are multiple taxes and levies laid onto vehicles on American roads, including taxes on so-called ‘luxury vehicles’, a category experiencing a sea change as that class now includes certain trim levels of working vehicles.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            slavuta, you SHOULD travel abroad if the opportunity ever presents itself. There is no substitute for actually being there.

            Travel to Italy wasn’t bad. Renting a car to see the sights and go places is the way to go IMO. And that goes for travel throughout Europe as well.

            We’ve traveled much throughout Europe being of Portuguese/German and German/Dutch origins and have loved every minute of it. Not just from a tourist point of view, but also the view of finding one’s heritage and peoples.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            slavuta,
            In Queensland motor vehicle registration is based on number of cylinders, four or less is lower than five and up. My vehicle is five cylinders.

            Other States in Australia tax registration on vehicle weight.

            But, on the other hand insurance costs in the US is higher than many other places.

            Australia has a luxury tax as well, but this hasn’t stopped the country from having the highest proportion of perfromance vehicles globally, we even have a higher per capita rate of pickups than the US.

            It’s all about affordability. Taxes on vehicles have a lot to do with infrastructure. You’ll find in countries with poorer public transport vehicle taxes are lower. But, countries with better public transport have a higher concentration of people.

            Look at Singapore. A very modern, very wealthy nation, but it’s not very affordable to have a car.

            Motor vehicles don’t always paint an accurate picture of how well off a country is.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            ” on the other hand insurance costs in the US is higher ”

            It was MUCH higher in Europe for the eight years I lived there.

            But insurance cost depends on a lot of factors. These days I have ALL my insurances (auto, home, life) with USAA and it is much lower than from any other insurer.

            Also, I have only minimal/required coverage on all my vehicles, even new ones.

            If ever I go on an extended trip, I call my insurance agent to upgrade to max coverage, for the duration of the trip.

            Lots of people do that. Not just me.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            HDC,
            It’s great to travel, not just tour, but get close to how others live.

            The reality is in most modern nations it is quite affordable to live. Costs vary and this being a car site it seems most determine a country on how many cubic inches and 0-60 times are a average in the country. But this has little to do with living.

            Many don’t like France, but I find France cheap and the French quite polite and helpful. That is because I don’t stick to the touristic settings, ie, central Paris.

            Spain I love, very laid back and much cheaper than northern Europe. Valencia is a great place to visit if you ever get a chance.

            All countries have something to offer, you just gotta open your mind a little and venture out.

            I have some Danish friends, they tell me that cars have a 150% tax on them and fuel is quite expensive. But, Denmark has quite a high standard of living. Norway with it’s EVs and expensive fuel, it also has a very high standard of living.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            I don’t get, how “Fiat fate in America” theme turned into “Slavuta travel habits”?

            Here is another one for you. In Italy birth rate is something like 1.1. We have in US 2.0. At least where I live, everybody has children. As soon as them children appear, so does SUV. But if Italians have very little children, they don’t need many cars that sit more than 2, hence small Fiat is ok. In fact, natural Italians have so little children that it is projected that in 40 years they will become minority in their own country.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            “It’s great to travel, not just tour, but get close to how others live.”

            We don’t “just tour”. We spent eight years in Germany ’72-’80 during my military career. Lived on the economy and at Patrick Henry Village, Heidelberg, in turn.

            With both my wife and I being of European stock, to this day we spend an extended stay with relatives in Germany, Portugal, and The Netherlands whenever we go to Europe, for months on end. Most recently 6 mos in those countries.

            Most recently came back from 10 weeks in Israel, visiting my sister. Great extended stay.

            Before that, eight weeks in Vancouver, BC, with my other sister.

            Before that 3 months in Baja California, visiting two of my brothers who moved there permanently.

            We spent 89 days living in Brazil a few years back, in a house, not a hotel.

            And we do get close to the people, actually try to dress like them by buying used clothing while there.

            When my oldest son worked for an International Japanese Bank, we spent several months there, near the Yokusuko Naval Base. Loved it! Also with our #2 son stationed at Camp Hansen, Futenma MCAS, Okinawa.

            We try not to be the typical isolated tourists during our stay.

            My point was, everyone should experience other cultures if the situation presents itself.

            This didn’t turn into slavuta’s touring habits. No one cares about what slavuta does.

            People who have actually been other places bring a wealth of introspect and insight to a discussion because they have more life-experiences to draw from.

            And that includes cars, driving in traffic, paying for insurances, locals’ feeding habits, and attitudes of the natives.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    My wife, the “forever” MINI driver, is getting interested in the 500 Abarath. It’s cute and funky enough, plus the youtube clips I played (that exhaust note!) made her consider buying one. Since her 2003 S is getting long in the tooth – another $700 repair coming up – it may be time for a replacement.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    I’ve been in Istanbul a few weeks, and from my experience with the many Fiats in service here, the two biggest problems with Fiat in the US are the quirky product mix and overcoming the old reputation for unreliability.

    The Fiat version of the Dodge Dart is in widespread service here for taxis, and I’ve come to favor it, especially over Renault’s. Too bad FCA bungled the launch so badly it could never recover. Also had one of those little Ram work vans, marked as a Fiat, for a company car. Really liked it, very simple, basic, and comfortable. Like the Transit, this for some reason isn’t available for passenger use in the US. Probably because it would displace more profitable crossovers (which haven’t taken over here yet).

    I’ve seen exactly one 500L, zero 500xs, and a handful of 500s here. If that product mix can’t make it in a city that loves the Micra, Golf, and other small hatches, those cars have no business in America.

    And as for the 500x the problem is easy to see when you put it next to the Renegade. There are one of each at my work that frequently park next to each other, and it’s plain to see that the Renegade offers significantly more glass and headroom. Not to mention being easier to find and likely cheaper.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Did you ever sit in that X? The seating is a mite lower than the Renegade, so the headroom isn’t nearly as limited as you think. And yet, the 500X can do everything the Renegade can do, short of the Trailhawk edition.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    I was just looking at their model lineup in the UK. Such a quirky mix of models. I would say bring the Fullback here and it would be something unique, maybe generate some sales. But alas, it might steal sales from profitable Jeeps and Ram Trucks so not happening.

    The problem is simply the model mix. Or I should say, they have no chance with their current model mix. Talk about bringing a knife to a gun fight. The next model in their pipeline with probably be something to compete with the Nissan Murano Cabriolet (but smaller and less practical) or some other totally obscure, slow selling niche.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      Yeah, completely the wrong lineup of vehicles for the current market – and outdated models at that. But how do you fix it and still be Fiat (small, cute, Italian)?

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I finally saw my first (and probably only) 124 Spyder on the road last week. How long before Fiat dealers are burning Sergio in effigy, after having been told they had to build standalone Fiat stores?

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      I would happily operate a standalone Fiat studio; I just can’t afford to build it. That’s one of the problems with today’s dealership paradigm; OEMs are not allowed to operate their own and if a franchisee doesn’t want to run one, they’ll do everything they can to destroy the brand.

      Fiats are by no means “bad cars”. Sure, they’re less expensive than a BMW Mini but they are certainly better than a Mini too; more reliable, less expensive and just a bloomin’ lot of fun to drive–yes, even the L, once you learn how to drive it. These aren’t American cars and you can’t expect them to perform like American cars. They’re not big and bloated, loaded down with massive power; these are compact, light, QUICK without being grossly overpowered and simply fun to own and use. They’re good for the purposes they were built even if they aren’t as big and showy about it.

      You don’t like the looks? Fine. But before you pan the brand, give it an honest look. You might be surprised at just how good they really are.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    Bye! Please turn the lights off when you leave.

  • avatar
    b534202

    The Fiat 500 that they’re selling now is over a decade old. Sure it wasn’t sold here until FCA became a thing but they really need more new cars more often.

  • avatar
    earthwateruser

    My local Fiat studio was recently turned into a Jeep showroom. The signage around the dealership was also updated and now includes Fiat as an afterthought to Jeep/Ram/Dodge/Chrysler. Most telling though is the lack of actual Fiats on the lot. While waiting on service I saw one 500 Abarth cabrio tucked away, a lonely 500 Pop, a dusty 500L and a single dark blue (gorgeous, BTW) 124 Abarth in the Dodge showroom. This is a fairly large dealership that used to carry a lot of Fiats. I hope they are moving Fiat over to the Maserati/Alfa Romeo store that is owned by the same company, but I fear that they are just going to let Fiat die out.

    • 0 avatar
      b534202

      At my only remaining local dealer, their stock is 1 500 & 24 500Xes. The next further one has only 9 500Xes. I mean, geez, just because crossovers sell doesn’t mean you don’t have to stock up on other models. What’s the point of introducing new cars like the 124 if the dealers don’t have it.

      There used to be a Fiat at at Maserati dealer, that was really nice for service. And then there was another one at a Alfa dealer, that was not as good since the service was done by the Dodge mechanics next door. Both of those closed.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      “I hope they are moving Fiat over to the Maserati/Alfa Romeo store that is owned by the same company, but I fear that they are just going to let Fiat die out.”

      Ever think that Fiat is doing what it can to get out from under THAT dealership’s thumb? If that dealership’s methodology is like many other CDJR dealerships I’ve seen, they’re doing everything they can to kill the brand that feeds them. These Fiats need to be run by a proper ‘mom & pop’ dealership that treat the customer like friends instead of marks and give the buyer proper respect for their choice of car.

      I’ve owned a Fiat; it is far, FAR better than people want you to believe.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    They never made clear what a reborn Fiat brand would mean. They had one car with a lot of charisma, but then didn’t update it and weren’t able to translate what made it lovable to other products. The 500L is one of the worst cars sold in the U.S. in recent memory, the 500X is a me-too subcompact crossover but with worse likely reliability, and the 124 competes in a tiny segment dominated by the car of which it’s a torquier but heavier alternate version.

    I don’t think they ever had a good reason to come back, and with the 500 getting stale that’s becoming clear.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      And their advertising has been consistently awful – playing on all the old Italian stereotypes.

      • 0 avatar
        IBx1

        The original sidewalk Abarth commercial and the beach commercial for the Abarth Cabrio with Catrinel were the best commercials I’ve seen in recent memory. Besides that, and the old man commercial for the Fiat 124 where he loses the viagra completely, all of their other commercials are terrible, cringeworthy, bottom-feeder junk. They should have stuck to an energetic, fun, upbeat, and sexy image, and refreshed the 500 with the series-4 bumpers that Europe got to keep things going.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          “Besides that, and the old man commercial for the Fiat 124 where he loses the viagra completely, all of their other commercials are terrible, cringeworthy, bottom-feeder junk.”

          I suggest looking at that Viagra commercial again. https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=Fiat+viagra+commercial&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

          That ain’t no 124, my friend.

          • 0 avatar
            IBx1

            @Vulpine,

            I mean this one, which wasn’t run nearly enough to catch attention, as you demonstrated.

            youtu.be/lYYqqn1CmXY

      • 0 avatar
        IBx1

        @ dwford

        The original sidewalk Abarth commercial and the beach commercial for the Abarth Cabrio with Catrinel were the best car commercials I’ve seen in recent memory. Besides that, and the old man commercial for the Fiat 124 where he loses the viagra completely, all of their other commercials are terrible, cringeworthy, bottom-feeder junk. They should have stuck to an energetic, fun, upbeat, and sexy image, and refreshed the 500 with the series-4 bumpers that Europe got to keep things going.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      So you’re willing to rely on hearsay and obsolete reputations to make an informed decision on a new car purchase. Might I suggest driving one for a year or so before you make a mistake you can’t afford?

      No, I’m not saying the Fiats are the greatest car in the world. But I’m betting you get more for your money in one of those than you do paying twice as much for any other car.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      I too never understood launching a “brand” based on one quirky little city car. Just like Mini which I can’t believe is still around too. Don’t get me wrong – I like that these fun little cars are available, I just can’t see trying to build a brand around them. The 500 should have been sold at your local Dodge dealer, call it a Neon or give it a new nameplate. Just imagine the costs associated with having a dealership network just to sell a line of cars that (aside from one model which started it) is available someplace else just with a different logo on it.

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    “The attractive little 500X”

    Seriously? I find nothing in the Fiat 500 line up to be attractive. The most that I’ll give the original 500 is ‘quirky’.

    The problem is that FCA hasn’t defined what the Fiat brand is, and they have nothing but small cars to offer a country that values big (whether or not big makes sense for the application).

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I’ve said it all along, that the brand is fighting a 50-year-old reputation that won’t disappear until more of them are seen. These are already among the least-expensive cars to buy on the American and Canadian markets, so it’s going to take people like myself, who are willing to ignore old arguments, buying them to expand that market.

    Remember, the Renegade is doing quite well for itself. The new Compass is doing quite well for itself. These are on the SAME platform as the 500x and very similar to the 500L’s platform. Fiat’s sole problem is popular perception, which can’t divest itself of antique hearsay.

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      Fiat has among the worst CURRENT reliability ratings from most surveys, and offers vehicles in classes that most people don’t care about. Sometime perception is reality.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      Props to you for overlooking a 50 year old rep, but there’s a huge part of the car buying public that has no experience with Fiat. They don’t necessarily hold that old rep against Fiat, but neither do they know what the brand is. I’ve yet to see coherent marketing from FCA that does the heavy lifting of establishing the brand. I’ve only seen hit or miss ads for individual models, and even those have lacked focus. J Lo for the 500? Even if they are only going to try to compete in the US with compact and smaller vehicles (which is a disadvantage to begin with), they need to create brand image here for Fiat. Maybe practicality, or Euro-chic, or distinctively cute and quirky, or eco-consciousness, but something that the ads can reinforce.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Vulpine,
      Don’t allow your lusting for FIAT to distort your capacity to be objective.

      Don’t confuse “potential” will “reality”.

      FIAT are where they are for a reason. They have produced subpar products for way too long, to this day. FCA, Ram/Jeep are struggling as they still are not as competitive as they could be in the area of reliability. Hit and miss is how I describe FCA.

      All one has to do is look at the costs of production per vehicle to see how FCA overheads per vehicle is 20% lower than GM or Ford in the US.

      This leads me to believe that the perception of FCA by the majority is correct.

      Cheap and cheerful is the way I describe FCA products. They do have potential, but being tight asses FCA are, has diminished quality to chase sales.

      For FCA to change tact will require price rises on their products. Imagine paying more for a piece of potential “sh!t”. The consumer will not pay more for a FCA product. It will take FCA a loooooooooooong time to rectify this.

    • 0 avatar
      ernest

      “Fiat’s sole problem is popular perception, which can’t divest itself of antique hearsay.”

      No, the problem is the Jeeps are hug ’em cute and the 500x isn’t. No tactful way to say that.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Sorry to sound sexist, but it seems the women tend to just love cute little cars… if their husbands will let them. My wife still wishes we hadn’t traded off her Fiat 500 to get her Renegade and sometimes wishes she’d let me take her to the nearest Fiat dealership to try out the 500X. Since the X and the Renegade are on the same platform, their characteristics will be quite similar and Fiat’s videos have demonstrated that.

        Maybe you don’t like a cute car, but some people do.

        Again, it’s the reputation that’s hurting Fiat, NOT their capabilities.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    Hyundai used to be in the same position as Fiat and Alfa Romeo are now. It took a serious effort to improve quality and a ten year warranty to turn it around.


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