QOTD: What LA Auto Show Debut Excites You?
Hello from sunny Southern California. You may notice a later-than-usual posting schedule today and tomorrow as we work our way through the LA Auto Show -- we're sorta working on West Coast time.
Which brings me to the QOTD -- what debut from this show has you perking up?
Uncle Topolino: Fiat 500e to North America in 2024
If you’re in the market for a pint-sized electric car with a dose of Italian flair, Fiat – yes, you remember them – will have an option for you a couple of years from now.
Junkyard Find: 1970 Fiat 124 Sport Spider
Since 2007, when I started writing about interesting vehicles in car graveyards, I’ve seen at least a couple of discarded Fiat 124 Sport Spiders per year. In fact, I was finding these cars in junkyards when you could still buy them new, back when I was hitting the yards of Hayward in search of parts for my ’69 Toyota Corona. These days, most Sport Spiders you’ll find at your local Ewe Pullet will be 1976-1980 models (I still haven’t managed to find any junked examples of the Pininfarina-badged mid-1980s Spiders that Malcolm Bricklin sold as Azzurras), so today’s ’70 is quite a rare Junkyard Find.
Junkyard Find: 1979 Fiat Brava Sedan
While an ever-increasing number Americans in the second half of the 1970s felt comfortable buying sporty German and Japanese sedans, the idea of relying on an Italian sedan for everyday transportation made sense to a much more exclusive group. For those Americans who craved a commute packed with Italian passion and artistry but needed something with rear-wheel-drive (ruling out the 128 and the Lancia Beta sedan) and cheaper than the Alfa Romeo Sport Sedan, Fiat offered the 131 on these shores for the 1976 through 1981 model years (changing its name to the Brava starting in 1978). As you’d expect, these cars are about as tough to find in junkyards today as Mitsubishi Tredias or Rover 3500s, but I ran across this ’78 in a Denver yard last week.
Rare Rides: A 1994 Fiat Coupe, as Legal Immigrant
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen an imported two-door Fiat on these pages which required some paperwork to get into the country. But it is the first time it’s all been done above board.
Let’s check out this 25-year-old Italian.
Fiat's 124 Spider Reaches the End of the Road in 2020
Fiat’s 124 Spider is about to receive its curtain call, and unlike the scene in Don Giovanni where Don meets a horrendous fate and is dragged off to hell, the Fiat 124 Spider is going out without emotion and little fanfare.
Farewell, Fiat: Stellantis Will Tap France for Small Car Platforms
Hopefully you’re all familiar with Stellantis — the chosen name for the sprawling automaker birthed from the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and France’s PSA Group. With the merger expected to wrap up in the first quarter of 2021, Stellantis is all about capitalizing on the respective partners’ strengths in the name of efficiency.
And, because of this strategy, FCA has reportedly issued a stop-work order on any development of future small or subcompact cars. The future of FCA small cars is now French.
2020 Fiat 500X Sport AWD Review - Long, Tall, and Falling Short
The Fiat 500X counts as a crossover, somehow. Yes, it shares a platform with the Jeep Renegade, but then again, it also shares that platform with the Fiat 500L.
At least it looks better than that rolling blob of anonymity.
New for 2020 is a Sport model, although how much sport is gained is debatable.
Junkyard Find: 2012 Fiat 500 Gucci Edition
The junkyard tells me that the Fiat 500 depreciates nearly as quickly as the New Mini and Mitsubishi Mirage, though the current generation of 500 remains sufficiently recent that most examples I see are crash victims.
This car, though crashed, is still special: a genuine, numbers-matching Gucci Edition Fiat 500, found in a Denver car graveyard.
Good News: The Fiat 500L Is Back in Production
Fiat Chrysler’s Serbian assembly plant was the first European auto factory to shut down as a result of the growing coronavirus pandemic — a grim harbinger of things to come, and not just for Europe.
That temporary February shutdown stemmed from a parts shortage arising from the hard-hit Chinese manufacturing sector. A far more prolonged shutdown came in mid-March, for obvious reasons. Well, that’s all over, as a crucially important product is now back in production, ready to satiate the hunger of the American buying public.
Rare Rides: A 'Clean Florida Title' Fiat Barchetta From 1997
There was one prior case where a too hot to title European car appeared on these pages, and it was a boring Citroën hatchback. Today’s forbidden, ahem, “legal” fruit is a bit more zesty. Presenting an underage Fiat Barchetta from 1997.
FCA Deferring Payment for Salaried Employees
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is deferring 20 percent of salaried workers’ pay until June while CEO Mike Manley endures a 50-percent cut to his annual earnings. With the pandemic still attempting to grip more of North America, this was to be expected. Other domestic nameplates have already issued notices of deferred payments to executives staffers, noting that additional measures would likely need to be taken if COVID-19 fails to recede in the coming months. Seeing the writing on the wall, FCA seems to have jumped straight into phase two.
Rare Rides: The Luxurious 1972 Fiat 130 Coupe
Rare Rides has featured a couple of Fiat coupes lately, their special, swoopy bodies representing redesign work carried out by Allemano and Vignale. Today’s Rare Ride comes to us from Pininfarina, and though it’s not as swoopy or special, I like it even more.
Rare Rides: A Fiat 125 Vignale Samantha From 1969
The Rare Rides series has featured a string of two-door vehicles lately, with representation from marques around the globe. Today’s Rare Ride is sleek and also has two doors. It hailed from the Vignale factory around the same time as the 850 featured here.
Let’s check out a very rare 125 Vignale Samantha.
Rare Rides: A 1969 Fiat 850 Special, by Vignale
Not long ago, Rare Rides featured a top-line Fiat 2100 sedan that was rebodied at the order of Abarth into the luxury 2200 Coupe Allemano. Today we have a look at a subcompact Fiat that received a similar treatment. It’s an 850 Special, Vignale-style.
Rare Rides: The 1959 Abarth 2200 Coupe Allemano
Fiat’s tuning company Abarth has appeared on Rare Rides once before, when we featured the very boxy Ritmo from 1987. Today’s Abarth is from a time when the company was independent of Fiat, and it happens to be the opposite of an Eighties econobox.
Presenting an Abarth 2200 Coupe Allemano from 1959.
Fiat Chrysler and PSA Flirting With a Merging?
It’s almost like celebrity gossip these days. Except instead of trying to see who’s seated next to Taylor Swift or Selena Gomez at a swank joint on the Sunset Strip, we’re looking to see who’s chatting up Fiat Chrysler at the party.
The Wall St. Journal is reporting that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Group of France are in talks to merge.
Incredibly Shrinking Fiat 500 Finally Dropped in North America
The model that helped relaunch a long-departed brand — a brand which subsequently failed to clear the tower — is effectively dead in North America. Fiat Chrysler has taken the retro-themed, pint-sized Fiat 500 off life support, removing it from the brand’s North American offerings for 2020.
The newly turbocharged 500, its beefier Abarth brother, and the eco-warrior 500e electric, were victims of America’s unrelenting desire for large, spacious automobiles. The illness took hold almost as soon as the 500 arrived.
As It Plots a Modest Path Forward, Fiat Thinks Small
Fiat, the ancient automotive brand found at the top of very few American shopping lists, finds itself in the midst of a transformation. On its European home turf, emissions rules have grown ever more strict; meanwhile, many buyers are gravitating towards the type of vehicles offered by corporate sibling Jeep, and Fiat Chrysler would prefer they purchase the seven-slot brand. That leaves Fiat with a mandate to think small.
As details emerge from the latest meeting of Fiat brass, it looks like the brand’s future holds efficiency but precious little flash.
Junkyard Find: 1979 Fiat 124 Sport Spider
Rare Rides: This 1987 Fiat Is Ritmo, Abarth, 130, and TC
Today’s Rare Ride wears a lot of different badges. The most important ones are Fiat, Ritmo, and Abarth. Come and check out the sportiest version of the final evolution of Fiat’s replacement for the long-lived 128.
QOTD: A Solution for FCA's Future?
A dated product lineup, questionable fuel economy across the board, a general need for some reworking. These are all issues with Fiat Chrysler’s offerings in North America. Today we’ll try and come up with some solutions.
2018 Fiat 500 Abarth Review - Clinging To Hot Hatch Tradition
Anyone else fondly recall Sport Compact Car magazine? For over two decades, that dead-tree, updated-monthly blog brought the latest in import performance trends to newsstands and mailboxes. I know that I waited for my copy impatiently, just knowing that this month would be the one where I found the perfect stuff with which I could poorly modify my ancient Accord.
Each issue brought forth little cars with tons of character, but after a while a theme was established — big wheels, big exhaust tips, and a lowered suspension with little compliance became the standard. With the dying of that great magazine, and the de-evolution of the Fast and Furious franchise away from accessible cars, the tuner culture seems to have drifted away from mainstream consciousness.
There aren’t many new truly compact cars that invite this sort of tuning, let alone those that come so equipped from the factory. The 2018 Fiat 500 Abarth is a throwback to those days — days where a loud exhaust and a booming stereo meant fun on Saturday night.
Fiat Chrysler Substituting Fiat Production, Adding More Jeeps in Italy
During Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne’s final days, he said his company would begin prioritizing Jeep production in Europe. This of course comes at the expense of the Fiat brand, which lost a sizable hunk of the European market after 2009 and appears to be outright failing in the United States.
While the brand gained back some of that lost ground east of the Atlantic over the past two years, Fiat’s Jeep stablemate took off like a rocket after 2013 — effectively tripling its share of the European market. Eager to cater to the ever-changing tastes of consumers, FCA is going to stick with Jeep and make some money. As a byproduct, the company thinks it may be able to revitalize Italy’s manufacturing industry, bolster overall volume, and get some laid-off employees back onto the factory floor.
However, it’s not just Jeep that’s getting special treatment. FCA intends to do the same for Alfa Romeo and Maserati, as their products boast higher margins than anything Fiat builds.
2019 Fiat 500X: New Engine, New Standard Equipment, Same Overall Look
Having already revealed the updated European version, Fiat is unveiling North America’s take on the facelifted 500X. While the subcompact crossover’s official LA Auto Show debut isn’t for another day or so, FCA decided not to sit on it. Likely a wise move, as the model will assuredly be overshadowed by higher profile vehicles appearing later this week.
As with its European counterpart, the North American changes are barely noticeable. While Fiat says the exterior has been updated, with new fascias incorporating LED running lights, the tweaks aren’t immediately apparent to onlookers. In fact, most are unlikely to notice any significant changes to the model before climbing into the driver’s seat or spending some time with a corporate dossier outlining all the alterations.
Fortunately, we can give you the abridged version — a list that includes standard all-wheel drive and a new engine.
The Latest Mobility Breakthrough: a 'Fiat'
Lime, the company that sent electric scooters driven by traffic-unaware short-term renters to every corner of the continent, has a new mobility plan. While e-scooters and bikes are great for travelling short distances in the city (a fact many pedestrians and motorists would disagree with), sometimes you need to go up hills, or perhaps travel further — and with more people — than a two-wheeled conveyance would allow.
What to do? Call on an automotive brand that’s desperate for sales, that’s what. Oh, and those aren’t Fiat 500s. They’re LimePods.
Here Are TTAC Readers' Choice for Worst Vehicles of 2018
There are those vehicles that are truly great. You love to look at them, to drive them (or dream of so doing), to buy them.
Then there are the worst. The stinkers. The overpriced, the ugly, the awful-to-drive, the cars and trucks that just don’t make sense.
Get Yer Fiats Out: Hilariously Unlikely FCA Marketing Tie-up Includes an Unfortunate Typo
Some police operations are only made possible by the inclusion of vehicles with 164 horsepower, a (debatably) has-been reggae/pop singer, and the guy from Dune.
The latest marketing coup, if it can be called that, on Fiat Chrysler’s plate involves these three elements, combined with an ’80s-themed, Crockett & Tubbs-like storyline and a hysterical typo that’s still on the automaker’s media site.
Rare Rides: A 1993 Fiat Tempra, the Practical Sedan for America
The looks of an old Volkswagen Jetta, the reliability of an old Italian car, and the inconvenience of right-hand drive. All of your dreams can come true in today’s Rare Ride — a Fiat Tempra. It made its way from 1990s Italy to England, then stormed up the banks of Rhode Island.
Fiat's U.S. Decline Continues Apace, but Somebody Please Put the Brand on Canadian Milk Cartons
If the Fiat brand was a human being, it was last spotted in the parking lot of a local bank. Police are now scouring the woods.
Launched with adequate, if not great, fanfare as a newly Italianized Chrysler powered out of the recession, the Fiat brand failed to put down roots in the American marketplace, with the automaker’s next five-year plan showing it as an afterthought with an uncertain future. Sure, Italy gets a wagon version of the little 500 and greener power options, but in North America, the brand went over with buyers like Catwoman or Heaven’s Gate did with movie audiences. Dealers aren’t exactly thrilled with having the Fiat name anywhere their Jeep or Ram banner.
As bad as the brand’s continued non-performance in America is, buyers north of the border have already moved on.
Rare Rides: The 1974 Fiat 124 Sport Coupe - a Stylish Little Italian
You can go into a Fiat showroom today and buy a brand new Fiat 124, undoubtedly delighting a dealer who’s desperate to move some reworked Miatas. It wasn’t always this way, though. The 124 name was originally applied to a lineup of Fiat-developed vehicles, like today’s Sport Coupe from 1974.
As Health Suffers, Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne Could Be Replaced Today
Several news agencies are reporting that Sergio Marchionne, the colorful chief executive who returned Fiat, and then a combined Fiat Chrysler, to profitability, might not end the day as CEO.
Marchionne, who took the helm of Fiat in 2004, was due to retire next April, and recently unveiled the automaker’s upcoming five-year product plan. Two sources told Reuters that Marchionne suffered “massive” complications from a recent shoulder surgery. According to those sources, the boards of Fiat Chrysler, Ferrari, and CNH Industrial are all meeting Saturday to name a successor.
Fiat 500X Exposes Some Chest Hair With 'Adventure Edition'
Calling the Fiat 500X rugged is like calling Star Wars actor Adam Driver sexy. While both have happened, neither of those ideas were conveyed via particularly reputable outlets. Likewise, the general public probably doesn’t agree with those statements — and the few that do are assuredly women.
Unlike the Star Wars franchise, Fiat owes the majority of its modern-day “success” to the fairer sex — a phrase I’m absolutely positive no one uses anymore. Still, both are trying to broaden their appeal by tweaking their product. Let’s stick to discussing automobiles.
While the breakdown fluctuates from year to year, roughly 60 percent of all Fiat drivers are women. But the brand does market to men, sometimes in ways we can’t quite comprehend. It also builds vehicles that seem specifically targeted at gentlemen, like the 500 Abarth and new 500X Adventure Edition.
Chrysler's Not Dead, It's Just Wounded
Rampant speculation on the Chrysler brand’s demise was premature. During a Q&A session in Italy on Friday, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne announced that the brand has a future, but it won’t be as big as it once was.
Already, the brand pales in comparison to even the recent past. In 2005, Chrysler sales in the United States topped 600,000 vehicles (we all remember those Sebrings), and the brand plateaued above 300,000 annual sales in the period spanning 2012 to 2015. Last year’s tally? Just over 188,000 sales — not surprising, given its lineup now consists of a single, aging large sedan and a modern minivan. U.S. sales are down 9 percent over the first five months of 2018.
Marchionne’s remarks proved an earlier Bloomberg report true: Chrysler will become a North American brand. And Fiat? Sorry, it doesn’t look like it’s going to work.
Sergio Says Fiat's Moving Out of Italy, FCA Needs Room for SUVs
Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne plans to to retire soon, and he wants to revolutionize the company as one of his final acts. On June 1st, he intends to unveil a sweeping plan that abandons local production of the compact and super-mini cars the Fiat brand is known for so FCA can focus on larger, more upscale, models.
Fiat, the most Italian brand we can think of that isn’t Ferrari, is moving assembly out of Italy. After being emptied, those factories will be repopulated by Maserati and Jeep SUVs. If you think that’s rather bold of FCA, there’s more. There’s also a very good chance the Alfa Romeo Mito and Fiat Punto will be killed off entirely. Thanks to a decade of steadily declining sales, the Punto has transformed from an European staple to a financial liability. It’s hard to imagine the continent without it, but Axing the model admittedly makes good bit of sense.
However, if FCA keeps culling Fiat and Chrysler’s lineup out of existence, won’t it eventually have to change its name?
Freeze It Again, Tony: 2018 Fiat 500 Urbana Edition
Faced with a tough market, what’s an automaker to do when trying to make noise in a crowded arena? Introduce a special edition, of course.
Fiat’s done just that with its 2018 Fiat 500 Banana Cabana Urbana Edition. The company is dropping this version of the 500 at this week’s New York Auto Show.
Ace of Base: 2018 Fiat 124 Spider Classica
Many corners of the internet expected the roadster shown here to show up as an Alfa Romeo Spider, not a Fiat 124 Spider, when rumours surfaced all those years ago about the MX-5 donning a natty Italian suit. Perhaps Fiat Chrysler made its decision at the time based on Fiat’s larger dealer network or some sort of answer provided by Sergio’s Magic 8 Ball.
Whatever the reason, we now live in a world where a brace of affordable and fun two-place roadsters are on offer. While the fraternal twins share a great deal, their clothes are different, as are their hearts. We’ve already deemed the base Mazda MX-5 to be worthy of AoB mention; can its Italian brother turn the same trick?
Fiat's 124 Spider Has a New, 35-pound Way to Keep the Rain Out
Fiat’s 124 Spider roadster doesn’t offer a complex “retractable fastback” like its Mazda MX-5 platform mate, but it looks like the brand isn’t satisfied offering only a soft-top version of its roadster.
There’s a new Spider crawling its way towards a Geneva Motor Show debut, and this one dons a very different hat than its siblings.
A 500 That Pops: Trying to Rekindle Interest, Fiat Gives All 2018 500s a Turbo
We explored the Fiat brand’s troubles earlier this week, then put you in the driver’s seat and asked what you’d like to see done about it. Well, there’s no red telephone linking our comments section with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles HQ, so suffice it to say many of your suggestions probably fell on deaf ears up in Auburn Hills.
However, Fiat does have a plan to stimulate some renewed interest in its flagging 500 city car, but it’s not through a shocking redesign or by positioning the tiny vehicle as a trail-conquering off-roader. Up until now, non-Abarth 500s have, to put it mildly, underwhelmed from a performance standpoint. Double-digit torque figures are a rarity these days, but they’ve just become rarer.
QOTD: What's to Be Done With Fiat?
As we told you yesterday, Fiat’s sales are best imagined as a heavy stone — one that drops heavily into a pond after a brief, victorious flight. Two years of consecutive month-over-month sales declines in the United States is a grim situation for any brand, let alone one reintroduced just seven years ago. Blame America’s growing allergy to small cars, or a neglectful corporate parent — whatever the reason, something has to be done.
The purpose of this article isn’t to, um, throw stones at Fiat’s four-model lineup; it’s to give you an opportunity to save the brand. Or kill it off for a second time.
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?
2017 Fiat 500 Abarth Review - For Your Inner Child
Fun, when it comes to cars, manifests itself in different ways. The Fiat 500 Abarth represents one of those ways, in theory – extra power in a small car, plus the right suspension tuning, should result in a quick, nimble hatchback.
Not content with that recipe, Fiat also made the Abarth version of its 500 city car into a brash, loud machine that doesn’t go anywhere in subtlety.
That last bit isn’t an exaggeration. Like or not, the Abarth’s exhaust is set at a volume that’s not normally seen (heard?) in this class.
Rare Rides: The Beige 1988 Lada Samara Is Neither Sporty Nor Luxurious
We’ve featured a communist-built car before on Rare Rides; it was an old Czech-made Skoda 120, located in Canada. A specialized importer group brought many cars just like the Skoda into Canada in the 1980s, supplying bare bones Soviet Bloc vehicles to frugal Canadians living in Quebec and some other places.
Today’s Rare Ride was never part of LadaCanada, and lived its life abroad until very recently. Made in Russia, sold in Belgium, and imported to America, it’s a Lada Samara.
Detroit's October 2017 Sales: Ford Soars, Fiat Chrysler Hits the Brakes
If the Detroit Three want to keep wind in their [s]sales[/s] sails, it sure won’t happen on the strength of traditional passenger cars.
Several brands from Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles posted U.S. sales declines in October 2017, all thanks to the slipping popularity of regular cars. In many cases, the continued strength of the crossover/SUV/truck market wasn’t enough to tip the scales back in the automakers’ favor.
FCA: Under Investigation and in Dutch With Europe
Emission probes have been in fashion for a couple of years now, especially in Europe. In France, the most recent target is FCA. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is currently under a judicial investigation as to whether or not it misled customers and cheated during emissions testing.
Though the terms of probe are unclear, a letter from the French magistrate kicked off the new investigation earlier this month. In the letter, the head of the investigation says the suspected emissions cheating dates back as early as September 2009, and involves the Fiat, Alfa Romeo, and Jeep brands. FCA is also under investigation in the United States over possible emissions cheating with its light-duty diesel truck engines.
FCA's Sergio Says Spinning Off Magneti Marelli is His Best Option
Fiat Chrysler is trying to work some financial magic to make itself look more appetizing to prospective investors. However, few buyers are likely to be interested in the whole of FCA. Its North American half has proven adept at assembling sport utility vehicles and Jeep would be a tasty morsel for any company hoping to expand its portfolio. But the Italian arm’s focus on smaller automobiles could get in the way of a potential deal — especially if the buyer already has their own.
CEO Sergio Marchionne wants the company to be purchased by an established automaker, but there are precious few that would want everything it has to offer. One possible solution is to separate subsidiaries from the core group. Marchionne says that might be the best solution for dealing with component supplier Magneti Marelli.
FCA has been of the mind that streamlining the business is the best way to attract investors without harming subsidiaries. After all, it worked well enough for Ferrari. The brand was spun off from FCA in late 2015, and its stock valuation embarked upon a rocket ride to the moon the following month.
Rare Rides: Ferrari-Powered 1991 Lancia Thema 8.32, the Superior Sister of Saab and Alfa Romeo
It would be understandable if the Lancia Thema you see above put you immediately in mind of a Rare Ride from a few days ago, the gold-plated DeLorean DMC-12. While that car had an entirely different purpose from the Lancia you see before you, the two did have a couple of things in common. Both were designed by Italian legend Giorgetto Giugiaro. And like the DeLorean, the Lancia also suffered (in normal trims) with the same Peugeot-Renault-Volvo V6 engine that made Eagle Premier owners miserable.
But that’s where the similarities end. Because today’s Thema sheds its multinational, mediocre V6 power for some purebred Ferrari horses. And you don’t even have to do the import paperwork.
2017 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth Review - A Tale of Two Drivers
I suppose it’s a bit like buying a car, but at once more limiting and liberating. Anytime I take the keys of a press vehicle, I must sign a long legal form agreeing, basically, not to be too stupid while driving someone else’s car. Invariably, near the top of the form is a serious restriction – that no one other than the person who signs the form is to drive the car.
I find this somewhat limiting. I understand the reasons, but occasionally some input from others can help evaluate the car. Thankfully, I found a loophole while driving the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth – I asked my 23-year-old self to drive the turbocharged roadster, alongside the current 38-year-old edition.
At twenty-three, I didn’t have kids. I had a mortgage on a starter condo with my eventual wife, but the full weight of life’s burdens were not yet bearing down upon me. So Young Chris decided not to wait until middle age, and he bought a sports car.
That’s why this discussion between Young Chris and Old Chris is an enlightening look at the modern Italian sports car, by way of Hiroshima.
QOTD: The Worst Model Names of Them All?
It happened quite by accident last week, as good ideas often do. After last Wednesday’s Rare Rides post concerning the Nissan Stanza Wagon, reader comments got a little sidetracked. Dal20402 lamented there had never been a worse name for a car than Axxess (the Stanza Wagon’s successor).
Before I could unplug TTAC from the Canadian outlet on the wall, other commenters were jumping in with their terrible name suggestions. Seemed like a fun game, so today we open the floor to everyone’s suggestions.
Give us your submissions for the worst-ever automotive model names.
FCA Canada Often Reports Zero Fiat 500L Sales, Stands by Fiat 500L for the Foreseeable Future
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles did not sell any Fiat 500Ls in Canada in August.
Hyperbole has gotten the best of modern society. You might say, “Those chips have no taste,” when asking your grocery-shopping spouse to stop buying those Garden Veggie Straws you so detest. But there is some taste; just not much. (Recommended: the rosemary olive oil flavor.)
“Alex Ovechkin doesn’t score goals any more,” your Capitals-loving son says. No, Ovechkin just doesn’t score as many goals as he used to.
Politicians never work together. There’s no sea ice in the Arctic. Subcompact crossovers always suck.
That’s the sort of rhetoric that minimizes the value of truth when truth is presented in an equally straightforward fashion. But in all seriousness, FCA Canada truly did not sell a single Fiat 500L in August 2017.
In fact, with alarming frequency, FCA Canada’s sales reports don’t include any Fiat 500L sales. But FCA Canada is sticking to its guns, unrelenting in the face of a horrifying popularity dearth, immutable when challenged by a Fiat lineup that needs an overhaul. FCA Canada confirmed as such to TTAC this morning: there will be a 2018 Fiat 500L.
FCA Losing Potential Dance Partners, Foreign and Domestic
First it was Geely. Then Dongfeng. Now add Guangzhou Automobile Group to the list of Chinese automakers that have denied interest in acquiring Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA).
FCA has seemingly been seeking a dance partner for a merger or acquisition for a year or two now, and the company’s stock rose earlier this week when Automotive News reported that a “well-known Chinese automaker” had made an offer to acquire FCA. The company has a market value close to $20 billion. Automotive News reported that the offer was rejected for not being enough.
Mazda MX-5 Miata Sales Are Rising in America; Fiat 124 Spider Isn't as Lucky
July 2017 was the first month in which we could ascertain the year-over-year U.S. sales direction of the one-year-old Fiat 124 Spider.
That direction is down.
In fact, the rate of year-over-year decline — 124 Spider sales fell only 6 percent in a passenger car market that was down 15 percent — was by no means severe. But it’s yet another sign that when American roadster buyers want a Mazda Miata, they buy a Mazda Miata.
Our Long Global Nightmare Is Over - The Fiat 500L Is Back, Baby
The strike is over.
Inventory can once again ramp up.
After 21 days of concern over the future of Fiat 500L, FCA’s Serbian employees are back at work.
And, uh, it doesn’t appear as though dealer stock of 500Ls grew dangerously low in the meantime.
QOTD: Which New Vehicle is the Worst Waste of Base?
Each week, TTAC’s basic car correspondent Matthew Guy brings you an Ace of Base article. Matt’s carefully selected examples are base models which tick many desirability boxes, proving you don’t need thousands of dollars in engine upgrades, brakes, pieces of trim, or tech packages to have good and enjoyable transportation. Overall, the Ace of Base series is positive and uplifting, presenting us with the best of the best of base. The other half of the basic coin is being ignored, however, and that’s where you come in.
Today we seek your nominations for the new vehicle which best represents a Waste of Base.
One Way to Reduce Massive Fiat 500L Inventory Glut: An Ongoing Strike at Serbia's Fiat Assembly Plant
Entering June 2017, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ U.S. dealers had a 219-day supply of Fiat 500Ls, roughly 1,400 cars in stock for a nameplate that generates fewer than 200 U.S. sales per month.
At least for the time being, however, U.S. Fiat dealers won’t be accepting any new copies of the 500L.
Unfortunately for the Serbian economy, the Fiat 500L’s inventory reduction in the United States is merely a byproduct of a strike at FCA’s Kragujevac assembly plant. That facility, which is one-third owned by the Serbian government, produces 8 percent of the nation’s exports.
Consequently, Ana Brnabic, Serbia’s prime minister, is advocating for the Kragujevac line workers prompt return to work. “It will be very difficult for us in the future to bring new investors when there is no certainty that workers will honor contracts between unions and employers,” says Brnabic, according to Reuters.
Workers are reportedly after a 30-percent pay hike, as well as workload alterations and transit assistance. FCA wants its workers back. The Serbian government wants FCA to get its workers back.
But car buyers do not want Fiat 500Ls.
Domestics Abroad, Part III: The Unmentionables
Today marks the third and final entry in our Domestics Abroad miniseries. This is where we take a look at the models proffered around the globe that wear a domestic company’s badge on the grille, but are not offered in the brands’ domestic markets. This is ground zero for “you can’t get that here.” All nameplates you’ll see in this series are current production models.
We kicked off this series with Ford and its 13 qualifying models. Second was Chevrolet, which had 9 models accounted for, and one which I forgot (you can see it below the jump). The Unmentionables will cover the remaining international offerings from Buick, Dodge, and Ram.
Junkyard Find: 1979 Fiat 124 Sport Spider
For as long as I have been poking around in American automobile graveyards (35 years), the presence of the occasional Fiat 124 Sport Spider has been a constant. Even while Pininfarina-badged, Malcolm Bricklin-imported 124 Sport Spiders were still available as new cars in the United States, I was seeing 20,000-mile late-70s examples about to be crushed.
Nowadays, most of these cars show signs of decades-long outdoor storage after awaiting restorations that never came. Here’s an extremely rough and rusty one that I spotted in a San Francisco Bay Area yard a couple of months back.
QOTD: Does Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Need More Cars?
The American new vehicle market is evolving. Indeed, the rate of evolution suggests it may be evolving fast enough to be deemed a revolution.
Passenger car market share is down to 37 percent through the first five months of 2017. We’re not even a decade removed from a time when passenger cars accounted for more than half of all U.S. auto sales. Cars have lost 4 percentage points of U.S. market share in just the last year. While pickup trucks, SUVs, and crossovers added 225,000 sales, year-over-year, in the first five months of 2017, passenger car volume tumbled by more than 145,000 units.
As a result, automakers are giving up on cars. Not wholeheartedly, not across the board, not routinely. But in specific areas. And this couldn’t be more obvious at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, where the company no longer has entries in the two largest passenger car sectors. Heading into 2018, FCA’s car branch will market two Dodges, one Chrysler, and a handful of Fiats, Maseratis, and Alfa Romeos.
Is that enough? Or does Fiat Chrysler Automobiles need more cars?
It's Raining Fiats … on Dealers That Already Can't Move Them: Report
Say you’re a dealer with a backlog of slow-selling models. What’s the last thing you would want?
The correct answer would be a springtime deluge of more of the same, whether you asked for it or not. That’s what some angry retailers across the Atlantic are facing after Fiat Chrysler Automobiles dumped 6,000 anemic sellers into Italian dealer management systems at the end of February.
Apparently, Mller Wasn't As Interested In FCA Partnership As We Thought
To say that there was some speculation surrounding Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller’s response to a potential partnership with Fiat Chrysler Automotive would be a severe understatement.
Müller said there had been no contact between he and FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne, but he’d not ruled anything out. He seemed to have an indifference about the subject, which left plenty of room to let minds wander.
According to Automotive News’ Larry P. Vellequette, that’s not the whole story.