Fiat Chrysler Automobile N.V. plans to discontinue the distribution of the current generation of Fiat 500 and Fiat 500e in North America due to slow and declining sales.
The demise of the 500 was foretold by the sharp drop in sales.
Sales have been declining for months and the automaker sold 300 of the 2019 Fiat 500s to customers in the U.S. in June, the last full month for which sales numbers are available. Through the first six months of 2019 sales had dropped by 25%.
It also been apparent from months that Fiat 500 no longer fits in FCA’s truck and SUV heavy line-up in the U.S. market.
Sales in Canada, which was once considered a promising market for the Fiat 500, were even worse. FCA sold a total of 31 Fiat-branded vehicles in all of Canada during June, a decline of 43%. So far this year, sales of Fiat-branded vehicles have dropped 52% in Canada.
Fiat Chrysler’s announcement that it was ending sales of the Fiat 500 and Fiat 500e in North America does not mean it is ending sales of Fiat-branded vehicles.
In North America, Fiat will continue to offer the new Italian-designed Fiat 500X all-wheel-drive compact crossover, the Fiat 124 Spider roadster and the five-passenger Fiat 500L utility vehicle, the automaker said. The current inventory of the 2019 Fiat 500
and 500e will last into 2020, the company added.
Mini cars have never done well in the U.S. market as even younger buyers living in crowded city neighborhoods have shown a distinct preference for somewhat larger vehicles ranging from subcompact passenger cars to compact sport-utility vehicles.
Daimler AG pulled its Smart car from the U.S. last years and even Asian carmakers have decided they could never justify the sales of their smallest models in the U.S. market.
Nonetheless, cars such as the Fiat 500 and Smart car did earn plaudits for their clever design. In fact, the Fiat 500 has been displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which paid tribute to its strong design.
FCA, according to several reports, is also preparing plans to show off the next iteration of Fiat 500 at the Geneva Auto Show next March.