Fiat is planning a wagon version of its 500 subcompact in order to boost sales in the U.S.
The Italian automaker will introduce a five-door model related to its subcompact 500 at the Geneva motor show in March, according to Olivier Francois, head of the Fiat brand. He added that the new model will be sold in the U.S. starting next year.
Fiat has sold more than 770,000 of the 500 since bringing the redesigned version back to the market in Europe in 2008. The car was introduced in the U.S. in 2011, but sales were disappointing. Only 26,000 cars were sold in the first year on the market, about half the number forecasted by the company.
“We thought we were going to show up and just because of the fact people like gelato and pasta, people will buy it. This is nonsense,” Marchionne was quoted as saying by Bloomberg. To improve U.S. sales, the CEO has approved the Abarth version for North America, as well as a roomier version of the 500.
The new wagon model is expected to be bigger and has been developed specifically for the U.S. market. The car will be built at the Fiat plant in Serbia and may have a 500 nameplate, a person familiar with the plan told Reuters. The model will be launched first in Europe.