It took a long time to start. But now, this is it! The Fiat 500 a hit in the States. In the land of “light trucks” as the pick-up “Full Size” Ford F or large 4×4 Chevrolet Tahoe and Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Italian retro small chip, launched in March 2011 overseas, saw its sales soar 128% to 4,000 units in May. A record month. Or an annual rate of 50,000 cars, the initial goal announced by Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat. At this rate, registrations of 500 should be more than doubled in the United States in 2012 compared to last year (19,769 units). Distribution network, mainly original Chrysler, is now fully operational, it was not the case at all at launch, a bit premature.
First export market
The United States became the first market outside of Italy for 500. They might even dethrone the short term peninsula. And, while the first deliveries will soon intervene in … China, where the chic version and posh luxury “Gucci” had the honor of Beijing Motor Show in April. Fiat is 15,000 units per annum of its mini-city in the former Middle Kingdom. Curiosity: Fiat 500 U.S. and Chinese have in common is that they are assembled at Chrysler – Auburn Hills manufacturer controlled by the Italian – Mexico. They do not come like all the others, the Polish Tychy site.
2011 record year
Ramp up overseas in China and the launch is timely to boost sales that are fizzle out in Europe. Logic: this adorable little Transalpine full of charm with its 500 air fifties begins to age. It is marketed in Europe since 2007. 900,000 units have been sold worldwide to date, including nearly 200,000 in 2011, a historic year with … North America. In the first four months of the year 2012, it passed 78,800 in the world, with 20% in North America (including Canada). Last year, Italy was the largest market for the 500 (60 300), followed by the UK (25,600) and France’s … (18,700).
A derivative minispace
After removing the convertible in 2009, Fiat will surf the success of the city in declining minispace 500 version, the 500L. Designation somewhat apocryphal, because minispace, which incorporates false air of 500, based on another platform than the Punto in this case. But, after all, the BMW Mini Countryman 4×4 has little to do with either the two-door Mini! The 500L will begin to be mass-produced in Kragujevac, Serbia, early July. For marketing in Europe in October. Target: 100,000 units annually.