Chrysler Will Sell The Fiat 500 By Year’s End In 2011

Chrysler’s Mexican-built Fiat 500 will be sold by Chrysler dealers by year’s end according to industry sources. At a price reported to be around $15,500, the 500 will be much cheaper than the BMW Mini Cooper which generally tops the $20k entry price range. With Italy’s Fiat having a 20% investment in Chrysler, it has plenty of management leverage over the automaker, dictating where certain models will be built to cut overhead costs although Fiat isn’t really investing any money into Chrysler itself. The Mexican plant still produces the PT Cruiser, which was slated to stop production this past Summer. But, expect production to shift to the new Fiat model within a few months into 2011. Expect models ranging from 135-160 horsepower, and even a convertible model at some point. They look like perfect fun cars, a sports car in an economy car body.

Some U.S. taxpayers may be disappointed to learn that their Treasury Department investment in Chrysler seems to be only guaranteeing jobs in Mexico. However, things just aren’t as bad as they may seem here. Chrysler repaid those $1.5 billion TARP government loans back in July 2009, at interest rates reported to be around 13%. Chrysler claims that it used the funds to help over 85,000 Chrysler customers finance vehicles through their dealers. The Treasury Department made some good money off the deal. Chrysler is still in business. And 85,000 customers are driving cars they bought on credit because they didn’t have the cash on hand to buy them by writing out a check. It was a win-win-win for everyone.

Now, the next step for Chrysler is whether Fiat’s reintroduction into the U.S. will prove any better than their failed previous attempts. Fiats have always sold well worldwide, except in the U.S.

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  • Anonymous

    Re: “Chrysler repaid those $1.5 billion TARP government loans back in July 2009, at interest rates reported to be around 13%.”

    The famous phrase “SHOW ME THE MONEY” as shouted repeatedly in the movie Jerry Maguire says it all. How was this “money” transmitted? Bank Draft? Wire Transfer? Cashiers Check? What account was the check drawn on? Who signed the check? Who was the check or other instrument made out to? Was the check in US Dollars? Where is the money now? If it has been spent, who spent it and on what? Who got the 13% interest?

    The phrase “SHOW ME THE MONEY” does not apply just to Chrysler/Fiat, but also applies GMC, Chase, BoA, AIG, and many others. Be reminded that because of US tax law treating corporate interest as a business expense, and allowing carry forward tax losses, it appears that these organizations will continue to bleed the US taxpayers even after their multi-billion dollar bailouts. There has been minimal accounting of the huge amounts of FRB “rescue funds” supplied to these companies and their finance arms such as GMAC, and the huge amount of corporate retiree medical care expenses foisted on the taxpayers via Medicare.

  • Antonio311

    Unka_George is a Typical uneducated Tea-party uneducate. The Loan was indeed repaid with interest, Chrysler is indeed employing Americans, & is still a major driving force in the US economy. Taxes are well worth their price! Every product & service increases in price, just as taxes will! NO MATTER WHAT, YOU WILL PAY MORE TAXES. Stop crying about it! Without taxes people will live in Anarchy, there will be no Services & people will not obey laws! Chrysler sales are up substantially & Obama did the right thing, by giving both Chrysler & GM loans! Go Chrysler!

  • Bought a Fiat in Wyoming in the ’70s. I won’t buy a second.

  • Paul Hooson

    Hello, JLawson. I tend to agree with you. I strongly considered buying a Fiat sports car as one of my first cars, but the rust situation with some I looked at was just too frightening for me. However, I do understand that their quality control has dramatically improved over the years, so maybe some buyers will give Fiat a second look. Yet, that “Fix-It-Again-Tony” Fiat slogan continues to ring in my ears.

  • looking forward to checking out the convertible …