This post is from 2009; exactly 1 year before the official pricing of the 2012 Fiat 500 was announced. Read the article and then go HERE to see how close I got!
Much speculation exists on the Internet on what price the Fiat 500 will be. It seems that people who aren't thrilled with the Chrysler/Fiat merger put a negative spin out there that the 500 will be in the $20,000 to $25,000 range. Those who are more objective feel it would start in the mid teens.
While we don't know what the final pricing will be, we do know that the 500 is priced lower than the Mini in all the markets it competes with. With that in mind, let's have some fun and speculate what a new Fiat 500 would cost now if it were being sold today. To do that, we'll take a look at a comparison between Mini prices and the 500 in various countries. In a semi-scientific way, we can interpolate what the price difference in America would be .
A couple of notes before we start, these prices were taken from the official website of each respective car company, equipment levels vary from country to country, and most important, currency values can vary by the hour (!).
Within the course of a few weeks, the Euro to dollar conversion went from 1.38770 to a current value of 1.49726. That's a pretty big deal, adding $1,659 to the price of the 500 1.4L Sport in Germany. Because of the currency fluctuations, we'll use the Euro, Pound Sterling and Polish złoty to make our predictions. The Dollar conversions are provided for convenience.
Another point is there are various taxes possibly built into the prices of the cars, but because we are comparing them within the same country, it should even out.
For our comparison, below I've picked 6 countries and have listed the base prices of the 500 and Mini. The order being the least expensive, then the next version up followed by the Mini Cooper.
Mini Cooper 118hp = $19,500
500 1.2 Pop = €11,250 = $16,849
500 1.4L Sport = €15,000 = $22,460
Mini Ray 75hp = €14,400 = $21,561
Mini One 95hp = €17,350 = $25,979
Mini Cooper 120hp = €19,900 =$29,797
500 1.2 Pop = €11,150 = $16,698
500 1.4L Sport = €15,150 = $ 22,687
Mini One 75hp = €14,900 = $21,564
Mini One 95hp = €16,330 = $24,451
Mini Cooper 120hp = €19480 = $29,167
500 1.4L Sport = €15,000 = $22,460
Mini One 75hp = €15,200 = $22,762
Mini One 95hp = €16,500 = $24,709
Mini Cooper 120hp = €19,200 = $27,756
500 1.2L Pop = 42,500 PLN = $15,246
500 1.4L Sport 58,500 PLN = $ 20,986
Mini One = 64,700PLN = $23,211
Mini One = 68,800PLN = $24,682
Mini Cooper 120hp = 77,300PLN = $27,735
500 1.4L Classic - 234,900 MXN = $17,803
500 1.4L Sport 249,900 MXN = $18,940
500 1.4L Vintage - 279,900 MXN = $21,213
Mini Cooper $19,900
Mini Cooper Pepper $25,800
500 1.2L Pop= £8,700 = $14,563
500 1.4L Sport = £11,500 = $19,250
Mini First = £10,950 = $18,331
Mini One = £12,385 = $20,734
Mini Cooper = £13,715 = $22,960
From all the above a few observations. First, the Mini in the US is considerably less than it is in the other countries. Second, the Dollar isn't very valuable at the moment (hence, Fiat needs to build cars here in the USA or Mexico), and it's impossible to import a low cost car from Europe and price it competitively given these exchange rates.
You can also see that the 500 costs less in Poland (where it's made and has lower manufacturing costs than Italy), in fact, you can buy a 500 1.2L Pop for €10,198 compared to €11,000 in Germany and €11,250 in Italy.
OK, let's get to the point! To make our prediction, we have to be aware that the only model Fiat 500 to be sold here (at least in the beginning) is the 1.4L and not the 1.2L, and the Mini Cooper is the only comparable Mini version sold in the USA. With that, we'll take the percentage less the 500 1.4L is compared to the Mini Cooper in each country, average it out and subtract it from the US Mini Cooper's price. In my theory, that will give us an indication of what we could anticipate the Fiat 500 will cost.
The results are, for a 500 1.4L Sport, a range of between $14,699 and $16,350 or let's just say:
Very simplistic, I know, but it points out the pricing would most likely be less than Europe (just like the US Mini is cheaper than the European version). It gives us a general range at which the 500 could reasonably be assumed to be priced. Also, having the car produced in Mexico (which offers low cost manufacturing comparable to Poland) will help Fiat keep the price competitive and still make a fair profit.
And, for any of you who think that's too much, a similarly equipped Toyota Yaris is $15,169! And that's with steel wheels and not the aluminum alloy wheels the 500 Sport comes with.
In any case, Marchionne and the new crew at Chrysler are sharp, and won't price the car out of the market.
We'll have to wait a year or so to find out how close (or far) we are!