LA motor show launch in November for Fiat in the US; 500 and 500C models tipped for launch

The Fiat brand will be re-launched in the US at the Los Angeles auto show in November, nearly 28 years after the Italian carmaker ended sales in North America.

The firm is expected to unveil the federalised version of their Fiat 500 city car in both hatchback and cabrio forms. Although Fiat is said to be looking for dealers in 41 states, there’s no news as to what further Fiat models will be sold in the US.

Fiat, which now has effective control of Chrysler Jeep, has had a long association with the US, establishing a factory in the country as long ago as 1908. But it pulled the plug on sales in January 1983 after selling just 14,113 vehicles in 1982.

By 1982 only the Fiat Strada was offered in the US, alongside the 124 Spider (which had been on sale in the US since 1968) and X1/9 mid-engined roadster.

At the point Fiat exited the US, X1/9 production was handed over to Bertone in 1982 and imports continued into America until 1987 by which time the model was 15 years old. The Spider continued as the Pininfarina Spider Azzura in the US until 1985.

Fiat has also something of an image-building job to do in America. Despite its long absence from the new car market, the company's 2009 takeover of Chrysler was met by some amazement in the US, where Fiat’s old reputation for poor quality is still remembered, alongside its widely used US nickname ‘Fix It Again, Toni’.

Hilton Holloway

Our Verdict

Fiat 500
The Fiat 500 is a small, cheap, utilitarian car that has become an icon

The Fiat 500 is a deserved success story for the brand, offering bags of style, a fine drive and low costs

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Comments
9

19 August 2010

US population's huge Italian component makes this a potentially massive step for Fiat. The 500 is surely cute enough to get the corporate foot in the door as a second or third car, and you would have thought the new quality standard is going to come as a hugely pleasant surprise even to the doubters.

19 August 2010

Good point well presented and may lead most Americans to revert back to another commonly used automotive acronym there - Fix Or Repair Daily.

19 August 2010

[quote tonym911]US population's huge Italian component makes this a potentially massive step for Fiat. [/quote]

Maybe, but it obviously did not work last time around as they withdrew from the american market.

The thought of a Chicago mafia boss driving around in a Pink 500C is appealing I have to say.

19 August 2010

[quote hilton holloway]By 1982 only the Fiat Strada was offered in the US, alongside the 124 Spider (which had been on sale in the US since 1968) and X1/9 mid-engined roadster.[/quote]

I hate this sentence.

19 August 2010

[quote philcUK]Fix Or Repair Daily.
[/quote]

That would be Ford; Fiat would be Fix It Again Tony.

You don’t need a weatherman
To know which way the wind blows
—Robert Allen Zimmerman

19 August 2010

Yep, the Ford acronym gets batted around quite regularly stateside as well as in Australia where it also gets used a lot.

19 August 2010

[quote philcUK]Yep, the Ford acronym gets batted around quite regularly stateside as well as in Australia where it also gets used a lot.
[/quote]

Some things never change, in the states it Chevy vs. Ford and down under Holden vs. Ford.

You don’t need a weatherman
To know which way the wind blows
—Robert Allen Zimmerman

19 August 2010

I think Fiat should do a rebodied 5dr 500, badge it as a Chrysler, and style it like that concept Chrysler did years ago, can't remember what it was called, it may have been the CCV?

19 August 2010

The "Fix it again, Tony" is not just an American thing.

Over in the UK its "Fix it again Tomorrow"

I have to say I bought my Daughter a new 08 Punto and it is a fantastic car, and it shares virtually all of its moving parts with the highly admired Vauxhall Corsa, which was THE small car to have in 2007/2008 season.

I am sure some of the smaller Fiats will do very well in the US.

The Americans dont realise that FIAT is a much better company than Chrysler/Jeep and although they have both produced really really bad cars over the years, my guess is Fiat have made generally better examples than Chrysler/Jeep.

I still think Chysler/Jeep is the motoring equivalent of an Amstrad Computer, an MFI kitchen, or a Betamax video player.

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