Under pressure, Fiat forced to convert its 500th to thermal

After having had a dazzling success, the first electric car from the Italian automobile brand shows a plateau in its sales. Fiat is also seeking to save its Mirafiori factory, and thus avoid the wrath of Giorgia Meloni's government.

The Fiat 500e has been a huge success in Europe, but its sales are plateauing. ©Fiat

Gone are the days when Fiat prided itself on occupying the European podium, sometimes in first place, for electric cars. The unexpected success of its 500th, released in 2021, allowed the Italian brand to catch up in a market segment that it had never seriously addressed.

Success is immediate. In 2022, the Fiat 500e will establish itself throughout Europe. It even managed to take first place on the electric car podium in the very demanding German market. The insolent pushes the provocation by doing better than Volkswagen and its ID.3 and ID.4 combined.

Prices have soared

But faced with inflationary pressure and the arrival of Chinese competition, Fiat is forced to increase its prices: +20% at the end of 2022. A real blow for one of the rare electric cars sold at 25,000 euros in betting on a low but sufficient range of 190 kilometers in WLTP.

Now, sales plateau at 65,000 cars in 2023, and early 2024 shows no signs of rebound. However, its successor, which will be developed on the new STLA-SMall platform, is not expected before 2027.

Fiat under political pressure

For Stellantis, another problem was added. The group is closely monitored by the Italian government over its investments in the peninsula. The President of the Council has already raised the tone by criticizing the group led by Carlos Tavares. For Stellantis, it is imperative to breathe new life into the Mirafiori factory where the Fiat 500e and other Maserati models are produced, and which is suffering from underproduction.

Read also : Italy ready to welcome BYD's next factory

In addition, the old 500, still produced in Poland and which still sells at a rate of 125,000 units per year after fifteen years of service, may not survive the new GSR II safety standards which should come into force next July . Logical consequence, a thermal version of the 500e could take over and not constitute a hole in sales. It remains to be seen at what price…

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