Lessons from the unexpected success of the Fiat 500e

Great success for the Fiat 500e! The new generation of the famous Italian city car has been on the podium of the best-selling electric cars in Europe since the beginning of the year… With 38,000 registrations in the first seven months of the year, it is behind the Model Y and Tesla Model 3. Better yet, it rises to first place in Germany, one of the most difficult markets in Europe and the preserve of Volkswagen, but also in Italy. Even combining the sales of the ID.3 and the ID.4 for eight months in Europe, the German brand cannot match the performance of the little Italian.

triple production?

At Fiat, production cannot keep up with demand. Visiting the Mirafiori factory in Turin last week, Carlos Tavares promised to double or even triple the production of the Fiat 500e, notes the specialized website Automobile Propre. As long as the supply of semiconductors allows it.

β€œAt Mirafiori, we could produce three times more Fiat 500e than we are currently producing. The limit is not due to the production capacity of the Mirafiori factory, nor to the battery packs, but to the scarcity of other components. In 2021, we will produce 45,000 units in Mirafiori. We could easily produce double and organize ourselves to produce triple. There is no bottleneck in terms of production capacity,” explained Carlos Tavares, who added that in this way he was able to achieve “leadership.”

This city car, heir to the Fiat 500 launched in 2007 with a purely retro style reminiscent of the famous “yoghurt pot” of the 1960s, is the Italian group’s first real 100% electric car, but also the first commercial launch after several years without new products. Its success is due to its renewed timeless design but also to an exceptional price positioning that allows it to be the only truly competitive European electric car compared to Chinese electric cars (MG, Aiways, Serres). Until September, it was thus shown at 25,000 euros without public subsidies. There was hardly a Dacia Spring that was less expensive, but positioned as an entry level and, incidentally, produced in China.

Stellantis: China, the blind spot of the Fiat-Peugeot merger

small autonomy

To show such a price, the Fiat 500 e had decided to offer a version with a small 23 kWh battery, giving it a range of 190 km in WLTP standards. Released in 2021, this version now accounts for 50% of sales. Thus, the Fiat 500e assumes its role as a second car to meet the needs of daily use (home, work, business, leisure, etc.). On average, the French drive 40 km per day.

Above all, the Fiat 500e thwarts the ever-increasing range principle that automakers have developed in recent years to reassure consumers, but which has led to skyrocketing prices. In a context of high inflation, this model weakens. Tesla continues to raise the prices of its Model 3, while the Megane E-Tech costs more than 37,000 euros. The Ford Mustang Mach-E has just crossed the threshold from which it is no longer eligible for public subsidies in France. These products are exposed to strong competition from Chinese brands. MG thus sells SUVs for about 30,000 euros or even less. And the Fiat 500e is no exception to the rule as Turin has decided to drastically increase its appeal price from September 1st. Its tariff scale thus starts at 30,000 euros, an increase of… 20%! However, it is still the least expensive “Western” electric car.

The same father as the competitor.

But not for long as the Fiat 500e will have to face another competition next year with the arrival of a 100% electric Renault R5 (whose price position is not yet known). These two cars share the same paternity since it is Luca de Meo, former head of the Italian brand, who relaunched the Fiat 500 in the 2000s in retro style, and who decided to do the same by taking the controls of Renault with the emblematic city car of the 1980s. Problem for Fiat, the diamond brand has more than fifteen years of feedback in terms of electric mobility and promises a particularly efficient engine. In fact, Turin has the indelible charm that made the success of the thermal 500, launched in 2007 and still on sale today.

Fiat 500e: electric suits you so well