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 |  Dec 28 2011, 9:15 AM

10. Fiat Returns to America

As another calendar year draws to a close it’s time to take a look back at the top 10 biggest stories of the year in the auto industry. It’s been a busy 12 months, starting all the way back in March when the Fiat 500 officially went on sale, marking the return of the brand to America. The last time an Italian car was sold here that didn’t cost six figures (or close to it) was 27 years ago. Since then, Fiat has introduced the 500C convertible model and most recently the Fiat 500 Abarth, aimed at enthusiasts.

The jury is still out on the Fiat brand’s success in North America, although the first year has failed to live up to expectations, with Fiat predicting sales of 50,000 units, while according to automotive data firm GoodCarBadCar only 17,444 have been sold in the first 11 months of the year (add 5,000 more if you include Canada). Some of this may be the result of Fiat’s marketing initiative with several ads featuring Jenifer Lopez, which the Fiat faithful rejected and many believe cost the brand boss Laura Souve her job. Getting the Fiat dealer network up and running also proved a challenge.

With more models coming, and Alfa Romeo set to return in 2013, Fiat is here to say. More importantly, perhaps, is the Fiat connection to Chrysler – a company it saved from bankruptcy and which it is now slowly rebuilding back into a profitable automaker.

  • Chris Van Auken

    First off, if GM (giant mess, God’s mistake, take your pick) is looking at the volt to rescue them, they are in worse trouble than we thought. The sales of the volt are dismal, and is selling them to government agencies mostly. And we know how efficiant governments are. It is not Pinto wrong. It is worse. Pinto’s could leak fuel which was a hazard no doubt. These things catch fire long after an accident. Talk about a time bomb. GM still owes the government most of the money they took. It is still owned by the federal government as far as I am concerned.

  • Steve

    Right,
    I know why don’t you just slate General Motors. Talk about taking the easy way out.
    GM are a world wide automaker, the Volt needs to be a success. Did you report on why the Volt supposedly catches fire? Did you ask someone at GM for an interview to put the questions to them?
    Why did you not try to put any positive input in your article at all?
    You would need to be a proper journalist to do that I would imagine.
    You owe it to your home auto industry to do your job to your best ability, i would bet it pays your wages. It is easy to take a swipe at GM, no one is going to call round to you home and smack you in the face are they? I would like to!
    why not speak to someone at GM?

  • Jannis

    Get with it. The Volt is only being offered in 7 U.S. cteiis the 1st year. A 50% production increase for 2012 by adding the rest of the nation is not much of an expectation. Nice spin job GM.

  • brimoind

    Typical Jannis, you see a story  and pick out one thing to comment on and that is to show your negativity to General Motoprs nothing else! Great job, keep it up you will all be buying chineese cars soon enough, except that your economy will be in such a mess that most Americans will not be able to afford a car!
    Get with it and support the USA fool.
    By the way i am not American, i do not know anyone personally who is American and i have never been to America. I do know that there are an awful; lot of Americans who seem to support anything other than what they make locally though, a reason?
    It’s still your call, you are the superpower, for the moment anyway!