Fiat will not offer a hybrid variant of the 500e and continues its battle with Italy

Olivier François, CEO Fiat

For several months now, sales of the electric Fiat 500, also known as the 500e, are worsening. In the first quarter of 2024, sales even fell by 49 % in Europe. Faced with this worrying decline the hypothesis of a hybrid combustion variant of the 500e had been mooted as a way of relaunching production of the electric model. However, according to Fiat CEO Olivier François, in a recent interview with Automotive News Europe, this option is no longer envisaged.

The 500th will remain alone on stage

In the interview, Olivier François confirms that the Fiat 500 range will henceforth be limited to the electric version only The Fiat 500 used to be a complete family, with the 500e, the ICE model, the 500L and the 500X. Now you only get the 500e. Despite this reduction in range, the executive is determined to maintain the 500e as an iconic electric model, saying, "We're very hesitant to add a mild hybrid [combustion engine] to the 500e family. It's probably something we won't do, because it makes so much sense as an electric vehicle, and we like the idea of our iconic model being electric."

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An assertive choice despite sales

Olivier François acknowledges, however, that the current difficulties facing the 500th in terms of sales. The strong correlation between sales and government incentives leads him to point the finger at the Italian government: "There has been a slight decline in demand for the 500e recently, but this closely follows government incentives. It's a bit disappointing, but it's a fact that demand is strictly correlated with incentives. Italy got off to a good start with the 500e, then incentives were reduced, and sales came to a halt."

Olivier François also points to the potential boost offered by the incentive plan proposed by Italy's Minister of Industry, Adolfo Urso: "I think the incentive plan for electric vehicles proposed by Minister Adolfo Urso has everything it takes to reawaken electric vehicle sales in our domestic market."

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The strategy to offset losses

Olivier François's strategy to offset the decline in sales of the 500e is based on the new Fiat Panda which will be offered in electric and hybrid thermal versions, as well as on the the recently launched Fiat 600 mild-hybrid. However, these two models will not be manufactured in Italy. The Panda will be produced in Serbia, and the 600 is made in Poland, marking a significant shift in production away from the country. This also confirms Nicolas Dufourcq's announcement " Italy won't be able to produce an entry-level electric car" .

For Olivier François, the Fiat 600 plays a crucial role in the strategy to offset lost sales The 600 needs a mild hybrid to stay relevant, and we're in the process of launching one. It's not a city car, and we need to offer customers a choice. This should also increase volumes, and with volume will come awareness."

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Fiat thus continues its tug-of-war with Italy, refusing to offer a hybrid version of the 500e and preferring to diversify its range with the Fiat Panda and 600 mild-hybrid, two models produced outside Italy. The brand is also hoping for a boost from the Italian government to stimulate sales of the 500e through financial incentives. In the meantime, the situation at Mirafiori remains difficult. last hope remains that of ane 500 electric updated with greater range and lower cost. What about the 500 hybrid combustion engine currently produced at Tychy? To be continued...

12 Comments

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  1. Incomprehensible!
    The Fiat 500e is an excellent car, and a hybrid model would make it interesting for anyone who's had a Fiat 500 internal combustion engine, which is not the case with the 500e, for reasons of cost and a practical problem of charging, which is never obvious.
    Even cheaper, the 500e won't sell in countries with insufficient infrastructure, such as Italy and Spain.
    A Fiat 500 customer isn't going to buy a Fiat 600 if he needs a city car. Olivier François is talking nonsense.
    But what does Fiat's management want? Sink the brand? Or kill off the Fiat 500e, by limiting its sales?

    • You could ask the same question of each ex-FCA brand. Take a look at Lancia's Corsylon, or Alfa Romeo's Mokkanior. As for the American brands, their sales are falling due to lack of investment.

      It's obvious: not offering the new 500 as a light hybrid is a mistake.

      Voluntary or involuntary, that's the question.

      So unless everyone is a conspiracy theorist...

  2. Fca, fiat is run by incapable people who come from I don't know where, they are looking to bring down the brands of the fca group, attenzione pericolo fca 🇮🇹❤️🇧🇪🙏

  3. Personally, I have a twinair that works great and I'll keep it. There's no way I'm going to buy an electric one that has very little range.

  4. Fiat's bosses are sterilized by the European Union's absurd and undemocratic regulations. Frexit is becoming more and more imperative.

  5. Mild hybrid, at Stellantis It means a pure tech and an alterno starter,...... They're shaking with fear at Toyota.

  6. Many brands, such as Volkswagen with the ID models, Mercedes with the EQ, are selling poorly, not to mention the Fiat 500e, whose sales figures are well below those of the old 500 hybrid version.
    I think we've reached a ceiling for electric car sales, which represent 17% of sales, which still leaves 83% of sales to hybrids and combustion engines. Now, convincing buyers to switch to electric is becoming difficult, for a variety of reasons (always the same ones, range, impracticality, too expensive, less fun, etc.). I'd be curious to know the sales figures for the Fiat 600e, and the Abarth 500e.

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