Fiat is preparing to revamp its brand in the US. The Italian automaker is bringing its top-selling electric car, the Fiat 500e, back to the US in an attempt to take on Tesla and the booming EV market.
With Fiat sales diminishing to nearly nothing over the past several years, analysts believe an affordable and unique EV, like the new 500e, can help turn the brand’s perception around.
Fiat has been a part of the North American market since the early 1900s. Although the automaker left several times (WWI, falling sales), Fiat returned to the US in 2011 after taking a 35% stake in the struggling “big three” American automaker Chrysler in 2009.
After several years of negotiations, Fiat-Chrysler merged with the PSA Group (Peugeot SA) to form Stellantis in January 2021.
Although Fiat sales have continued to slip since then, selling only 138 vehicles in Q1, the automaker believes its new North American leader can help turn the brand around. Stellantis has tasked Aamir Ahmed, former Fiat-Chrysler and Amazon marketer, with “providing cool mobility solutions for all.”
According to Fiat’s global CEO, Oliver Francois, the brand will bring its top-selling EV, the Fiat 500e, back to the US next year as it looks to regain its footing.
Fiat launching its top-selling EV in the US
Some of you may remember Fiat’s first 500e model launched in the US, a compliance car with 84 miles range and limited sales in California and Oregon. Fiat initially focused on affordability, with leases well under $100 a month.
For its second round, Fiat plans to enhance its range and features. Ivan Dury, director of insights for Edmunds, told Automotive News:
If they could come to market with something very small and electric and [with] better range, that’s the kind of vehicle that can turn some heads. Right now, the average ATP for an EV is $60K, and while [EVs are] pulling in a lot of buyers and a lot of money, we know there’s people that don’t want to spend that. They’re not looking to buy a used one, either.
With General Motors ending production of one of the most affordable EVs in the US, the Chevy Bolt, later this year, it could open the possibility for a brand like Fiat to claim some of the market.
GM is discontinuing the model in favor of its Ultium-based models, such as the upcoming Silverado EV, Equinox EV, and Blazer EV.
Dury also said Fiat could compete with EV leader Tesla at the lower end of the market. With Tesla teasing a $25,000 model, Fiat could stand apart with more “amenities and styling than what Tesla might be showing with that little hatchback.” In fact, he said, “We really don’t have a lot of products coming down the pipeline in that area.”
Francois says Fiat will stick to what it knows with the new 500e, including offering a “polarizing, niche, unique” statement because that’s what Americans need.
The European 500e model is among the top-selling EVs in Europe and best-selling overall in Germany.