Fiat Chrysler Australia has introduced a raft of pricing changes to its 500 city car, dropping the price of entry well below the $20,000 barrier while keeping specification levels intact.
The Fiat 500 TwinAir Plus now retails for $18,800 with a manual transmission, representing a price reduction of $4190. With the automatic manual gearbox, the Twinair costs just $20,300.
The convertible 500C Lounge has had its price slashed by $4790 to $21,200. Add an automatic trans, and the retail price for the 500C Lounge sits at $22,700.
Rob Moorcroft, Director of Fiat and Alfa Romeo in Australia, said that the price restructure finally gives the diminutive 500 a fighting chance of selling more than just a handful of cars.
“They weren’t on everyone’s shopping list,” Mr Moorcroft said. “Yes they are a European car which has some benefit, but they were just all positioned wrong."
“Today is about where we position the cars, where we price the cars, where we think they will move forward to.”
And Fiat Australia’s plans for the 500 don’t end there.
Later in the year Fiat will debut the 500 Pop, a stripped-out variant of the 500 that will sit below the 500 Twinair.
Alex Tam, Director of Product Strategy in Fiat Chrysler Australia, told TMR that the Pop could give the 500 a serious kick in sales numbers.
“[500 Pop] is going to still be very well equipped at a competitive price,” Mr Tam told TMR.
“I think with ‘car guys’ we want everything: we want all of the gizmos. But there’s a certain type of customer who just doesn’t care,” he said.
“What they want is to have a functional car which just drives them from A to B. If you look at the 500 Pop, you’re looking at an urban transport for people who live in the city."
“They don’t require a big car and don’t have a huge family. It may even be a second car for these people, and [Pop] will be perfect for them.”
Tam confirmed that despite the Pop’s de-contented spec list, Bluetooth would be standard-issue.
However, the Twinair engine would not be offered in the Pop due to the cost of the sophisticated turbocharged 900CC two-cylinder engine.
Instead, a 1.4 litre naturally aspirated petrol four will be the most likely powerplant for the Pop, with 74kW of power and 131Nm of torque.
With the standard manual transmission the 1.4 litre engine returns an average fuel economy of 6.3 l/100km, or 6.0 l/100km with the optional Dualogic automated manual transmission.
Tam refused to put a solid number on the Pop’s pricetag, but said that above all else, the Pop would be “priced competitively”.
With cars like the Volkswagen up! three-door hatch starting at $13,990, we could see Fiat’s tiny 500 offered for less than $15,000.
Later this year, price changes will be applied to the Abarth 500 Esseesse, and the limited-edition Abarth 595 Maserati edition will also arrive in showrooms.