US: Fiat expects new 500X model to boost sales image

The Italian carmaker is looking to recover from a not so good looking first half of the year, as it now has a full inventory of its 500X crossover that is set to increase sales by the end of 2015.

Fiat was reintroduced to America five year ago, but it still seems to struggle finding its niche and attracting new consumers. The problem is that the stylish automaker had to face two major trends going on overseas: really low gas prices and an increase in demands and preferences for crossovers and SUVs.

Up until June, Fiat was able to offer to the American drivers only three car models – the Fiat 500 minicar, the all-electric 500e and the polarizing 500L – and all the 500 models were not built from scratch for the American customers, but adapted from the European designs, which has not proved successful for carmakers out there over the years.

These factors led to Fiat witnessing a major decrease in sales of 13% for the first seven months of 2015, from 44,000 cars sold annually over the last three year, to only 25,033 this year.

Dave Sullivan, an auto analyst for AutoPacific explained that “The brand suffers from the same symptoms of all of the other brands of the same size in the same segment. Even vehicles as large as the Ford Focus or Chevrolet Sonic have experienced sales declines and plant downtime.”

Moreover, the Fiat 500 is not the most fuel efficient car in its size segment, as American customers get interested in small cars when gas prices are high and step away when gas prices lower.

FCA is now hoping that its new Fiat 500X, which is a small crossover produced in Italy, but designed for the American motorists, will help the brand recover from the sales slump.

The Italian carmaker is also planning to reveal another new car at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November, the 124 Spider, which is a two-seat sportscar based on Mazda’s fourth generation MX-5 and which is expected to be launched in the U.S. in 2016.