Fiat 1668725130

‘Fiat Is the 500, No Other Car’

  • Olivier François, CEO of Fiat, said Car and Driver at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2022 that the brand’s future does not include a next-generation 500X SUV.
  • The electric 500e minicar will be the primary focus from 2024 as the company shifts its North American strategy.
  • That strategy could include subscriptions and car sharing options.

Fiat is discontinuing its SUV and shifting its focus back to the 500 minicar, as the Cinquecento’s North American return was announced today at the 2022 Los Angeles Auto Show. The brand currently has one model on sale in the US—the 500X SUV—but Fiat boss Olivier François tell Car and Driver that it will be phased out after this current generation.

“Fiat is the 500, no other car,” said François. “I have a very clear plan to do nothing but the 500.”

Fiat says the current 500X will be available at the end of its current generation, although the automaker declined to say exactly when that will be. We expect that to continue at least until the 500e officially launches in America in 2024.

François also explained that the future of the brand on American shores is to serve as a learning opportunity for parent company Stellantis as it looks at a transition to electric vehicles. Experimentation with digital sales, monthly subscription services, limited-edition specialty models and even a car-sharing service are all possibilities for Fiat when the 500e goes on sale in 2024.

“The last thing the American market needs is one more mainstream model or brand,” said François.

The car can be offered in a variety of body styles, but perhaps not simultaneously, giving Fiat the opportunity to switch to whatever seems popular or desired by buyers at any given time. For example, the 500e could be offered only as a convertible for a certain period, then switch back to hardtop sales. While sales can still take place via the traditional dealership model, Fiat says a click-to-buy option is an attractive possibility.

The brand will focus on metro areas best suited to the car’s size and driving range, but François added that rural and suburban buyers won’t be excluded if they want such a 500e. Pricing hasn’t been revealed, but it’s likely that the 500e will be treated as a low-volume styling item rather than a mass-market car, which could translate to higher-than-expected prices.

The designer models shown at the LA Auto Show could be an indication that brand collaboration models could play a big role in the car’s marketability. Fiat has a history of such collaborations, as the previous generation car was sold as a Gucci edition in America and in other markets in partnership with luxury yacht manufacturer Riva.

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