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Fiat Changes Course, Confirms Gas Engines Are Coming To 500 Hatchback

by | May 29, 2024

Fiat confirms that 500 hatchback will abandon its EV-only sales approach and will come with gasoline engines in an attempt to broaden its sales reach.

Fiat 500e is about to get some gasoline-powered backup in showrooms

Fiat was eager to show that the Fiat 500 could work in the North American market. A surge in EV demand gave the Italian car brand an opportunity to bring the model back to U.S. as a pure EV with the company saying at the time it had no plans to sell a gasoline-powered model.

However, a slowdown in demand and sales is forcing many automakers to revisit and alter their EV sales plans to adapt to shifting consumer tastes. That now includes Fiat, with the brand confirming that the 500 will get gasoline-powered hybrid models that will be sold alongside the EV in Fiat dealerships.

Hybrid power would expand sales reach

Fiat confirms that it will be adding hybrid versions of the 500 hatchback to be sold alongside the EV

Stellantis confirmed this shift in plans via an official announcement and the addition of hybrid models would allow the U.S. version of the 500 to fall in line with international market versions of the model which already offer hybrid powerplants alongside their EV counterparts. The decision to make the U.S. an EV-only market was partly due to the company addressing the fact that our country is a strong CUV and SUV battleground with gasoline-powered versions of the tiny 500 being lost in the shuffle.

However, the EV’s high $34,095 base price before any options are added in is putting the squeeze on sales and is also preventing the model from branching out beyond early adopters and Fiat loyalists. This slowdown is putting a big crimp on the brand’s broader plan to revitalize itself in the U.S. with the only other model it has on sale here being the aging 500X crossover. The hybrid models would help lower the price of entry for the Fiat 500 and perhaps allow the hatchback to appeal to buyers wanting to take full advantage of its small size in urban areas but don’t want to be hampered by the EV’s low range.

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Fiat’s decision will face familiar obstacles

This expansion plan will face familiar obstacles

Fiat’s move is designed to increase sales but moving the 500 back into the gasoline vehicle market will also force the model to confront some of its old demons with some of them being responsible for the 500 originally leaving our market in the first place. A prominent one is that SUV, truck, and CUV sales still form a very strong backbone of sales here in the U.S. and a side-effect of this is that the exodus of customers to these types of vehicles has caused sales of small cars to decrease. A hybrid-powered 500 would not only have to find a way to stand out in the crowd but also have to contend with the overpowering presence of these vehicles in the market.

it will also be interesting to see if the brand will also add a hybrid engine to the performance-focused Abarth model. The Abarth variant faded away with the previous generation 500 from our shores and it didn’t get the invitation to come back with the 500e either. The Abarth is currently limited to international markets but adding a hybrid-powered variant would allow the model to gravitate to more buyers as well while also building on the heritage that its predecessors built over the years.




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