Bloomberg reports that Chrysler Group LLC, the U.S. automaker run by FIAT SpA, will sell four models of the Italian carmaker’s 500 subcompact in the U.S.- this according to FIAT CEO Sergio Marchionne.
Chrysler, which emerged from bankruptcy on June 10, will eventually sell a convertible, wagon and sporty version called the “Abarth” in addition to the four-seat subcompact in the U.S., Marchionne said in an interview on June 30. While the base 500 will go on sale next year, he didn’t say when the other models will be available.
“All of those cars will be coming to the U.S.,” Marchionne said. “FIAT will be known in the U.S. purely in terms of its 500 car.”
FIAT, based in Turin, Italy, owns 20 percent of Chrysler Group, and is sharing vehicles and technology with the U.S. car company in exchange for ownership. FIAT said it sold 190,000 of the small cars, which are comparible to BMW AG's Mini.
In Europe, the FIAT 500 can be equipped with a 1.2- liter or 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine or a 1.3-liter turbo diesel. The 1.4-liter engine variant gets a combined, city- highway average of 36 miles per gallon under European regulatory standards.
“Its biggest impact will be to spark interest in bringing people back into the dealerships,” Aaron Bragman, a Troy, Michigan-based analyst with IHS Global Insight Inc., said in an interview. “Given the fact that it is an unusual car and quirky and cute, it is a good car for them.”
Chrysler’s most efficient model today is the Dodge Caliber, which gets 24 to 30 miles per gallon.
Chrysler, based in Auburn Hills, Michigan, filed for bankruptcy on April 30 because of plunging car sales.