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Friday, February 26, 2016

Fiat 500 Ranked Most Dependable

Fiat 500 Pop

The Fiat 500 has just been ranked as the most dependable car in its segment by JD Power in their 2016 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study. In addition to the Fiat 500 being best in its class, the Fiat brand's overall dependability ranked equal to or better than a number of well-regarded marques.

The 2016 JD Power U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study is based on responses from original owners of 2013 model-year vehicles after three years of ownership. The rigorous study looks at owner-reported problems during the past 12 months. The score is based on problems evaluated in eight vehicle system categories including: exterior; features/controls/displays; seats; interior; the driving experience; audio/entertainment/navigation; heating, ventilation and cooling; and engine/transmission.

The Fiat 500 did significantly better than its competition.

JD Powers Dependability Study Ratings by Category - City Car
Overall DependabilityPowertrain DependabilityBody and Interior DependabilityFeatures and Accessories Dependability
Fiat 500       *****      *****   ***       *****
Smart FourTwo       ***        **    *****       *****
Chevy Spark       **        **  **       **
***** Among the best **** Better than most *** About average **The rest

 Fiat 500 Sport

Fiat Brand Dependability Ranking

In the 2016 Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) by Make*, the Fiat brand's dependability score matched a number of well-respected brands known for quality. Fiat's overall dependability ranks equal to BMW, Cadillac, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan and Subaru. Fiat's dependability also outranks Ford, Land Rover and Smart.

Looking at the Powertrain Dependability category, Fiat was ranked equal to Audi, BMW, Hyundai, Mercedes, Nissan. Scion, Subaru and Volkswagen. Fiat outranked Ford, Land Rover and Smart in this category.

In the Body and Interior Dependability category, Fiat ranks equal to Mitsubishi, Nissan, Scion and Subaru.

In the final category of Features and Accessories Dependability, Fiat ranks equal to Acura, Audi, BMW, Hyundai, Infiniti, Kia, Mercedes, MINI, Nissan and Subaru. Fiat outranks Cadillac, Ford, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mazda and Volkswagen.

Fiat 500 Abarth Cabrio

Fiat 500 Dependability Versus Others

To give perspective on how well the Fiat 500 did, let's take a look at how the 500 compares to some other popular and well-known cars. Comparing the Fiat 500's overall dependability score, we see that the 500 outperforms many cars celebrated for quality and dependability. While scoring may not be 100% comparable across segments due to how points are awarded, the tallies show just how well the 500 did in its segment compared to the others. Fiat owners should keep this in mind when talking to people who are ill-informed or curious.

Fiat 500 Overall Dependability Ratings VS. Others  
Overall Dependability Powertrain DependabilityBody and Interior DependabilityFeatures and Accessories Dependability
Fiat 500       *****      *****   ***       *****
3 Series
       **        ***    **       **
Ford Fiesta       **        **    ***       **
       ***        ***    ***       ***
       *****        *****    ****       ***
       ****        ****    ****       ****
Hyundai Elantra       ***        ***    ***       ***
       **        ***    ***       **
Kia Rio        ***        *****    **       ***
       ***        ***    ***       ***
       ***        ****    ****       **
       ***        ***    ***       ***
       **        ***    ***       **

It is important to know that JD Power's Dependability score is based on actual verified owners, unlike some other surveys on other sites. Some of these other surveys are based just on their subscribers input with no verification of ownership. They may also be based on online surveys or discussion forums. Without ownership verification, the results can be skewed. This verification is one of the reason's why the JD Power survey is so well respected.

Update 2-27-16: Clarified scoring comparison.

*Source:JD Power ratings2016 Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) by Make*
Images: FCA US LLC

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Fiat 124 Spider Pricing Explored

Fiat 124 Spider Anniversary Edition
Fiat 124 Spider Anniversary

Pricing of the new Fiat 124 Spider has been reported on Italian websites and show the Spider being competitively priced to similar equipped Miata models. Early reports in Europe indicate the more powerful Fiat offers stronger acceleration and flatter cornering than the Mazda. There is also an enhanced Noise Vibration and Harshness (NVH) package that makes the Spider quieter and feel more refined. The pricing reflects that.

The 124 Spider comes in two models, base and Lusso, plus the ultra-limited production Anniversary model.

Prices of the Fiat 124 Spider:

  • 124 Spider: €27,500
  • 124 Spider Lusso: €29,900
  • 124 Spider Anniversary: ​​€33,000

The 124 Spider Anniversary model celebrates the 50th anniversary of the original Spider that debuted in 1966. Only 124 examples will be made, and it's been reported that the model is already sold out well in advance of the car's showroom arrival. Fiat is lending buyers of the Anniversary model the use of a 500c Cabrio so they can enjoy open-top motoring while waiting for delivery of their vehicle.

European Fiat 124 Spider
European Fiat 124 Spider

In Italy, the Miata MX5 comes in three models, a base model called the "Evolve", the mid-range model "Exceed", and the higher end "Sport".

Prices of the Mazda Miata in Italy:

  • Miata Evolve:  €25,300
  • Miata Exceed: €27,700
  • Miata Sport: €29,950

European Fiat 124 Spider Lusso Model
European Fiat 124 Spider Lusso

As the Fiat is more European grand tourer and less lightweight Japanese speedster, there is no stripped down 124 Spider. The well equipped 124 Spider compares more to the mid and higher range Miata models, and the price is comparable.

US Fiat 124 Spiders

How much in the U.S.?
Trying to figure out how this will relate to the prices we'll see in this country is not clear cut science. The 124 Spider in Europe comes with a 140 hp engine and only with a manual transmission while the US will get a 160 hp engine and the option of an automatic transmission. On the other hand, the marketplace dictates pricing, and even though the US has different equipment and option packages, it still needs to be competitive. Thus, we can infer the price will be as it is in Europe - comparable to slightly more due to the enhanced refinement

Mazda MX5 Miata

In the United States, Mazda offers the Miata in three trim levels, Sport, Club and Grand Touring.

Sport MSRP: $25,735*
Club MSRP: $29,420*
Grand Touring w/automatic trans MSRP: $32,090*

Fiat 124 Spider Prima Edizione
Fiat 124 Spider Prima Edizione

The 124 Spider is available in two levels, Classica and Lusso. There is also a special edition called the Prima Edizione similar to the Anniversary model available in Europe and also limited to 124 examples. The Prima Edizione is based on the Lusso model and has all available options. There is no price premium added for exclusivity, and the Prima Edizione is expected to sell out immediately, just as the Anniversary model has in Europe.

The 124 Classica has one option package available while the Lusso has two. Lusso's also only come with an automatic transmission.*

*4/28 Breaking News: It has been confirmed the Lusso will now be offered with a manual transmission!

Classica models are closest to the Miata Sport with 16-inch wheels, 6-speaker stereos and cloth interior. Estimates range from $26-27,500.

Fiat 124 Spider Classica standard equipment.
  • 1.4L MultiAir® Turbo Engine with Six-Speed Manual Transmission Delivers 160 HP and 184 LB-FT of Torque
  • Electric Power Steering System, Independent Front and Rear Suspension, Electronic Locking Differential, Electronic Stability Control+ and Traction Control
  • Four-Wheel Disc Antilock Brakes with Electronic Brake Force Distribution and Engine Brake Assist
  • Black Cloth Soft Top (Manual Operation)
  • Halogen Daytime Running Lamps and LED Taillamps
  • Power Exterior Mirrors with Body-Color Mirror Caps
  • 16-Inch Painted Silver Aluminum Wheels and 195/50R16 Performance Tires
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System with Tire-Specific Display
  • Dual Stainless Exhaust Tips
  • FIAT® Radio 3.0 with AM/FM, Bluetooth® Connectivity, Six Speakers and Connections for a USB and MP3 Player
  • Instrument Cluster with a Large Analog Tachometer, an Analog speedometer and a Driver Information Digital Display
  • Keyless Go Start/Stop Push Button Ignition and Remote Keyless Entry
  • Black Premium Cloth Seats and Soft Instrument Panel and Door Panel Inserts
  • Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel and Shift Knob

The Lusso model with its luxurious appointments, leather interior and automatic transmission are anticipated coming in at $32- 34,500.*

Fiat 124 Spider Lusso model adds the following additional equipment.

  • Six-Speed Automatic Transmission*
  • 17-Inch Premium Aluminum Wheels Painted Silver and 205/45R17 Performance Tires
  • Fog Lamps, Automatic Headlamps and Rain-Sensing Wipers
  • Dual Chrome Finish Exhaust Tips
  • Keyless Enter 'n Go™
  • Stainless Steel Sill Scuff Plates
  • FIAT® Connect 7.0 with 7-Inch Full-Color Touchscreen Display, an AM/FM Radio, Six Speakers, an SD Card Reader and a Multimedia Control Knob
  • Full-Color Personalized Driver Information Digital Cluster Display
  • Automatic Temperature Control (Dual-Zone Available)
  • Heated Leather-Trimmed Seats (Black or Tan)
  • ParkView® Rear Back Up Camera+ (Rear View Mirror)

These prices are just best guesstimates. Now let us know what you think on the Forum.

* includes $820 destination
Sources and Images: Mazda Italy, Mazda USA

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Fiat 500 Sales For January 2016

Fiat 500C Abarth Cabrio

Fiat sold a total of 2,594 cars last month, down 20% compared to the same month last year. Terrible weather throughout a large portion of the country along with a January with two fewer selling days versus the year before took its toll on sales this month. On top of that, January 2015 had record sales, so it was always going to be a tough month to match considering the bottom has fallen out of small car sales.

Ultra-low gas prices and a shift of buyer's preferences to crossovers have hit sub-compacts hard. The Fiat 500X crossover has arrived just in time but seems to have cannibalized 500L MPV sales.

Fiat 500X in Italy

Still, the 500X is selling relatively well. Consider this. During the last six months of 2015, Jeep sold 51,373 Renegades through 2,390+ dealers. In the same period, Fiat sold 9,458 500X's through only 210 dealers. One can imagine what the figures would be if Fiat had the same number of dealers as Jeep. If we extrapolate the numbers we could easily see that Fiat could have potentially sold 90,000 - 100,000 units.

Let's look at the popular Honda HRV. During the same six-month period, Honda sold 35,588 through 1,044 dealers. If Fiat had the same number of dealers selling the 500X, we theoretically could be looking at 47,000 cars.

Now obviously there is a difference in theoretical and actual sales, but there are two points here. One is that Fiat has substantially fewer dealers than most people realize. The other is you need to be careful when just looking at numbers. While actual figures would likely not be as high as the estimates, they do give an indication of how comparable sales would be if Fiat had an equal number of dealers as the competition.

2016 Fiat 500 in Rhino

Here are a few more statistics for fun:
Total sales in 2015 of cars the Fiat 500 outsold
Fiat 500 sales totaled 25,084 cars through 210 dealers
  • Hyundai Veloster sales totaled 24,245 cars through 800 dealers. Estimated Fiat 500 sales could be 95,560 with 800 dealers
  • Kia Rio sales totaled 23,742 cars through 755 dealers. Estimated Fiat 500 sales could be 90,184 with 755 dealers
  • Mitsubishi Mirage sales totaled 21,515 through 373 dealers. Estimated Fiat 500 sales could be 44,554 with 373 dealers
  • Scion tC sales totaled 16,459 cars through estimated 900 dealers. Estimated Fiat 500 sales could be 107,505 with 900 dealers
  • Toyota Yaris sales totaled 16,779 through 1,200 dealers Estimated Fiat 500 sales could be 143340 with 1,200 dealers
  • Volkswagen Beetle sales totaled 22,667 through 650 dealers Estimated Fiat 500 sales could be 77,643 with 650 dealers

Maybe Fiats should be sold through mainstream Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Dealers? Take the poll at the top of the page and let us know what you think on the forum.

Fiat 124 Spiders at LA Auto Show

January Fiat News

Fiat is ramping up for the upcoming second quarter debut of the new 124 Spider, so keep an eye out on the official Fiat USA website, and of course, this site. We were given an in-depth preview of the car a few months ago, and it looks like it is going to be a hit.

Below is a look at the new Fiat 124 Spider, plus make sure to stop by the Fiat 124 Spider Forum for interesting discussions about the car.

Last month, Fiat 500 USA Blog examined the all-weather capability of both the Fiat 500 and Fiat 500X.

Speaking of the Blog, we are proud to mention that hit 10 million pageviews a few weeks ago, and also celebrated its seven year anniversary in January. A big THANK YOU to all that have visited this site over the year!

Other statistics:
70.7 million image views
12 million Forum pageviews
930,000 YouTube views
915 YouTube followers
3774 Facebook Likes
930 Forum Facebook Likes
462 Instagram followers

Fiat Brand Sales in the United States, January 2016
Fiat 500Current MonthLast Year 2015Vol ChangeCurrent YTD TotalLast Year YTD TotalChange  %







Figures and sources: FCA US LLC. Automotive News,
Images: FCA US LLC and author 

Fiat 500X Groundhog Day Commercial

Only a Fiat 500X can make six more weeks of winter appealing. This new Fiat commercial features the 500X, a lot of snow and an unhappy groundhog!

Image and video courtesy of FCA US LLC