Credit sex, swagger or supportive reviews from the automotive community. Actually, scratch that and credit them all for the Fiat 500 Abarth’s warm reception that demanded triple what the automaker originally expected to sell in North America.
Unfortunately for some of the people who put deposits down to get one of the hot miniatures, Chrysler announced that it will curtail wholesale orders for the Abarth for the year, leaving some accounts with deposits in limbo until next year. That announcement left a number of customers who already paid deposits bumped to the 2013 waiting list for the 160-hp track-tuned car.
Fiat struggled to sell cars in the U.S. initially. Skeptics saw the 500’s quirky styling, small size and nearly-forgotten name as outliers in the market that made it a tough sell. Much like Marlboro cigarettes, the little Fiat was initially branded as a woman’s car, but found its niche with male buyers. In this case, the Abarth is almost like the automotive equivalent to the Marlboro Man.
The key difference is that while smoking cigarettes is indisputably bad for your health, smoking tires probably releases endorphins. Customers picked up on that fact pretty quickly — something Fiat noticed when it bumped planned 2012 production from 1,000 to 3,000 units at its Mexico plant. That number was the cap for plant production, and a disappointing fact for eager buyers.
[Source: Detroit News]