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Fiat is one of the biggest car brands in Europe, but the U.S. market has proved a tough beast to tame. Fiat has struggled for decades to find a foothold in the American market, but so far all of their bids for traction have all ended one way or another.
Now, the only car they offer in the U.S. is the Fiat 500X, a subcompact SUV that, coincidentally, looks quite a bit like the character “Luigi” from the movie Cars. However, that may be the only praise offered for the model, as its reviews and performance have been subpar.
Why is Fiat failing in America?
According to GoodCarBadCar, Fiat has been active in America on and off since the early 1900s. Their last big bid began in 2009, when they came back to the states and acquired Chrysler, establishing Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). More recently, FCA became Stellantis when they merged with the PSA Group, which includes brands like Peugeot, Citroën, and Opel.
When sales kept declining in 2015, Fiat decided to launch some new models. They released the 500X in 2016, followed by the 124 Spider and the electric 500E in 2017. This was a last attempt to staunch the bleeding and boost sales, but it became clear once the cars were released that the new models alone would not be enough.
In 2020, Fiat pulled every car but the 500X from the U.S., making it the only tie Fiat has to the American market. Looking at the 500X’s reviews, though, we may be saying goodbye to Fiat sooner than we expect.
Consumer Reports is not impressed by the Fiat 500X
According to Consumer Reports (CR), the 2021 Fiat 500X is not the subcompact SUV you want to set your heart on. There have been many reports of transmission problems in the past, and the car has low reliability.
CR gives the 500X 31 points out of 100 overall, the lowest score out of all tested subcompact SUVs. The car earned low ratings in all three of their assessment categories: a one out of five in predicted reliability and predicted customer satisfaction and a three out of five on its CR road test.
The 500X consists of a 1.3-liter, 177-horsepower turbo engine and is equipped with all-wheel drive. Though CR admits that its small size makes it easy to maneuver and the features are accessible and chic, the road test revealed a long list of flaws.
The 500X has a stiff feel with an equally stiff and unresponsive transmission. It also has touchy brakes, awkwardly shaped front seats, and obstructed visibility, making it a largely unimpressive drive.
What plans does Stellantis have for Fiat?
Since the Stellantis merger, Fiat has taken a bit of a backseat. Stellantis has announced that Fiat will go all-electric by 2030 but hasn’t released any details on what this entails for the brand or how soon the change will be implemented.
Hopefully, a shift to electric vehicle production will provide the boost Fiat needs to be a competitive brand in the U.S.
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