That model? The new 500e.
The all-electric Fiat 500e has made its debut at this year's LA Auto Show and CarBuzz was on hand to discuss the tiny EV with Brand Chief Executive Officer Oliver Francois. The city car's return, this time solely as an EV, made us wonder whether Fiat has plans for additional models, EV or not. The answer was a flat "No." Even though Fiat is parent company Stellantis' biggest global brand, followed by Peugeot, the reality is that Fiat's US presence is very small.
"Do we need America? No. Does America need us? Certainly not," Francois said. "But we have a fanbase. We tried to introduce other models [like the 500X crossover and 500L hatchback], but 500 is Fiat. It's a one-model brand [in the US]. We don't need any others. I don't see the potential for brand expansion."
Francois did add there could still be some 500e "variations" down the road but nothing has been decided at this time. The 500e went on sale last year in Europe and, so far, has been an "overwhelming success," particularly in Germany. Francois added that the Italian-built 500e is very expensive to import and "there are no real benefits" in doing so except one: the learning experience.
"Importing a car requires a lot of money to federalize but we crave to learn and create. Automotive is the last industry on earth doing the same thing it did 50 years ago. There are disruptors coming in and we want to do that too."
But importing the 500e to this side of the pond does have another drawback, aside from the costs. "Clients that we serve here are just clients we cannot serve there [Europe]." Fiat knows the 500e is a small-volume model and they want to see what happens once it goes on sale. If it proves to be popular, Fiat will strongly consider taking appropriate measures. We also had to inquire about the possibility of a future 500e Abarth. Francois did not have a direct answer, only saying that he "hopes so."
In Europe, the new Fiat 500e boasts a 42 kWh battery pack with a total of 117 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque at the front axle. Expect similar figures for the US-spec model. America's new Fiat 500e is slated to go on sale in early 2024.