Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is expecting its Fiat 500X SUV to gather more demand than the 500 minicar in North America, according to senior executives at the carmaker. Fiat Chrysler expects the 500X to catch the attention of buyers seeking for a ride lager than 500.
Jason Stoicevich, head of Fiat in North America, told Automotive News in an interview at the Los Angeles Auto Show that a major reason for consumers to reject the 500 was its size. As the 500X is basically larger than the 500, it is expected to outsell the smaller version.
Fiat will commence sales of the 500X in Europe in the first quarter of 2015, and in the United States the following quarter. Fiat Chrysler plans to offer the 500X in 100 global markets, relying on a strong US performance.
North America currently accounts for 60,000 of Fiat's 1.6 million in annual vehicle sales, a number dubbed by brand chief Olivier Francois as “marginal.” But for the 500X, its sales volume in North America won’t be marginal, Francois said.
The Fiat brand returned to the US in 2011, following a 16-year absence, and just needed much less time than Mini or Kia to top 40,000 sales.
But the Fiat 500 reached its peak in 2012 and dropped 18 percent a year after. On the other hand, the brand just fell 1 percent in 2013. Fiat is seeing a good chance to hike volume in the US Northeast with the 500X, since the SUV features all-wheel-drive capabilities.