Fiat to Discontinue the 500 in North America in 2020

Fiat reports a rapid decline in sales for the 500.

Fiat 500e. (Image courtesy of FCA US LLC.)

Fiat 500e. (Image courtesy of FCA US LLC.)

Fiat announced that it will be officially pulling the Fiat 500 from the market through a statement from company spokesman Bryan Zvibleman. This includes the 500, the 500e electric model, and the higher-performance Abarth 500 models. FCA will cease production of the vehicle in North America just less than a decade since its introduction. According to Fiat, the minicar has not been faring particularly well with consumers.

“As consumer preference continues to shift towards larger vehicles, we’re seeing competitors and consumers vacate the small-car segment,” said Zvibleman.

The Fiat 500e was the automaker’s first battery-powered car initially targeted toward the European market. This was in conjunction with the company’s plans to spend $5.7 billion on its factories in Italy through 2022. Fiat was already serving as an electric platform for FCA, similar to BMW AG’s all-electric Mini Cooper SE, which was unveiled in July. However, according to analysts, the 500’s 84-mile range still wasn’t competitive in the current electric vehicle market.

Recent reports show that sales of the Fiat 500 in the United States were down by 25 percent year-over-year through June. Despite the drop, the 500 was still identified as the brand’s top seller so far this year. However, the Fiat 124 Spider roadster was still able to sell more units than the 500 in June.

Analysts are concerned that the Fiat 500’s disappearance from the North American market could mean an uncertain future for the brand. Karl Brauer, an analyst for Cox Automotive, notes the 500’s significance to Fiat.

“It was the core vehicle that represented the brand, that they launched the brand in the U.S. with,” Brauer said. “It was a key part of Fiat’s brand and image, despite its increasingly falling sales over the past five-plus years.”

Brauer adds that, for Fiat to remain viable as an automaker, they need to start including SUVs.

The FCA announced back in 2016 that it will stop offering the compact Dodge Dart and midsize Chrysler 200 to focus its efforts on growing its truck and SUV segments. Automakers such as Ford and General Motors have followed suit with cuts to their sedan offerings.

The 500 is produced in a plant in Toluca, Mexico, along with the Jeep Compass compact SUV. Zvibleman says that remaining inventory of the 2019 models are expected to last until 2020. While production officially ceased in June, the final manufacturing run will be in November.

The roadster, the Fiat 500X all-wheel-drive compact crossover, and the five-passenger Fiat 500L utility vehicle will still be available in North America.

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