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Fiat future in U.S. tied to new leader, return of 500e

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Brian Moody, executive editor for Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader, said a low-priced, medium-range EV would be a good fit for suburban buyers in the U.S.

“Fiat could yet have something to offer consumers,” Moody said. “As many cars add more and more safety and comfort features, a few things are starting to stand out: unique, compelling design, and the idea of owning something truly different are hallmarks of Fiat. Design is a big differentiator today.”

Fiat doesn’t have grand volume ambitions for the EV. Francois said last year that he doesn’t plan to invest a ton of marketing cash into the 500e to persuade people to buy a car that isn’t for them.

The 500e’s debut next year will give the brand two vehicles.

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Thus, the 500e will need to deliver if Fiat wants to gain traction in the U.S., said Matt Degen, senior editor of Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader.

“A lineup of just two small, niche vehicles is a hard sell to both customers and dealers alike,” Degen said. “The 500X, for as cute as it is, is getting old, is no longer competitive in its class, and its sales volume barely registers. That puts immense pressure on the reintroduction of the 500e.”

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Degen said “the previous 500e was certainly stylish and fun,” but “it never was on the radar of EV shoppers. I think the new 500e will have to be a gamechanger if Fiat wants to be relevant in the U.S. market.”

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