If you were looking forward to seeing the Fiat 500 parked in your driveway within the next few years, it might not be a good idea to hold your breath. Chrysler is reportedly considering building the 500 at a plant in Mexico, while building another compact car similar to Fiat's in the U.S.
Citing anonymous sources, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that Chrysler could build the Fiat 500 at its Toluca, Mexico, plant. The engines for the vehicle could possibly be built at a plant in Trenton, Michigan. The decision on the compact car for the U.S. based on the 500 is still up in the air, according to the sources.
Chrysler spokesman Gualberto Ranieri declined to comment on the story Monday.
As part of its plans to win the U.S. government's support in purchasing a stake in Chrysler, Fiat said it would bring the Fiat 500, along with other Alfa Romeo and Fiat-branded small cars, to the market in the U.S. Those plans helped it win a 20 percent stake in Chrysler earlier this year, along with several billion in loans to jumpstart the (at the time) bankrupt automaker.
Some have speculated whether the Fiat brand can overcome the decades-old reputation of poor quality that plagues the brand in the U.S. By rethinking the 500 small car for the U.S. market and selling it under a Chrysler brand, it's possible the car could be more successful than a Fiat-branded version.
Chrysler's Toluca plant currently produces the PT Cruiser and the Dodge Journey, employing more than 2100 workers organized under a Mexican union, according to the Detroit Free Press.