Report: Fiat 500 U.S. buyers choose costlier packages and customized options

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 4, 2011

Fiat S.p.A.’s revenue is increasing, as American buyers have opted for the costlier packages and customized options on the 500 subcompact, the vehicle that marks the company’s return to the U.S. market after an absence of 28 years.

In the first five months of Fiat’s return to the country, the Spot variant accounts for around 50 percent of the model’s sales, disclosed Laura Soave, the brand's chief in the region. The Spot costs $2,000 more than the $15,500 base 500 Pop.

Representing 20 percent of the sales is the Lounge line, which costs $19,500. On top of the pricier trim levels, including the Sport's leather seats and bigger wheels and the Lounge line’s satellite radio and a glass roof, U.S. buyers are personalizing their Fiats.

Soave disclosed that customers “really want to build their car" and that they are patient enough to wait six to eight weeks in order to have what they want. The reentry of Fiat into the U.S. market was made possible by its control of Chrysler Group LLC.

Heading both Chrysler and Fiat, Sergio Marchionne intends to combine the vehicle manufacturers in order to lower costs and obtain more than 100 billion euros ($142 billion) in revenue by 2014.

The factory of Chrysler near Mexico City manufactures the 500 for the U.S. Since March, Fiat has delivered 7,982 units in the U.S. The company’s sales in the U.S. for July amounted to 3,038 units. Fiat, which is Italy’s largest vehicle manufacturer, pulled out of the U.S. market in 1983. The 500 is the first and only Fiat sold in the U.S. since that year.

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