Fiat will begin producing the 500 at Chrysler’s plant outside of Mexico City beginning this December as it hopes to bring down the cost of its minicar for U.S. consumers.
According to Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, the company aims to produce around 130,000 of the small cars each year for sale in both the U.S. and Latin America. When the Fiat 500 actually goes on sale in the U.S., it will be Americans’ first taste of Fiat cars and some of the future products to come out of the Chrysler-Fiat relationship.
Chrysler expects the 500 to “stir excitement” as the company is struggling to rebuild itself after losing nearly 40 percent of its sales during last year's bankruptcy. In addition to the 500, Chrysler released an entirely new full-size Ram pickup truck lineup over the last two years and says it will be making improvements across its lineup, in many cases even before new models debut.
“The 500 is expected to stir excitement and certainly will help us position the group in the forefront of the industry in terms of innovation and fuel efficiency,” said Marchionne at the Mexico plant. “The 500 is just one example of how Fiat’s experience in the small to medium vehicles segments and its expertise in fuel saving technologies will play a key role in Chrysler’s revival.”
Marchionne admits he does not expect to shrink Americans’ taste for [large] cars, but instead expects the sporty subcompact to reside in a particular niche of the American market. As of now, there is still no firm date as to when the car will go on sale and find its niche.