Fiat dealers in America are unsurprisingly finding it difficult to turn a profit by selling just a subcompact, and are hoping that the new products hitting the US will help boost sales.
While sales of the 500 are improving, dealers are pinning their hopes on the four-door 500L, which will help bring in more customers later this year by offering a product in a different market segment.
Currently, Fiat only sells variants of the subcompact, two-door 500. There’s the base 500 convertible, in addition to a turbo model, and a hopped up Abarth. A new electric power 500e is also available in select markets.
“I’m struggling to break even,” says Gary Brown, Chrysler Dealer Council chairman. “With the one car in a small (volume) segment, it’s a tough go right now.”
The upcoming 500L looks just like a 500, but is bigger and equipped with four-doors. Using a 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine with 160 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque, the 500L will be available with either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed dual dry clutch transmission.
“The real key is rolling out new product, additional offerings,” said Brown. “The four-door (500L) is really going to be a shot in the arm. It will put a franchise on more people’s radar as they are shopping for a small car.”
In addition to the 500L, Fiat dealers are also looking forward to the launch of the Alfa Romeo brand, which is spear-headed by the upcoming mid-engine 4C sportscar. The light weight coupe is expected to take on the likes of Porsche thanks to its 1.8L turbocharged engine, and handling prowess.