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FIAT's 500e is an odd vehicle, in that it's one of the industry's better EV efforts and yet it's publicly loathed by FIAT's own CEO.
Though sold only in California and Oregon, a number of 500e's are coming off lease, needing new homes. Unlike many Americans in late 2016 who swore they'd move to Canada, FIAT 500e's are actually following through on those plans, aware of Canada's love of cheap and cheerful compacts.
A couple diminutive expats ended up at a nearby lot, one of which was a bright, juicy orange with a white accented spoiler, air dam and mirrors. Despite being a fairly old vehicle, this colour combination is akin to a Scaramucci-esque botox and bake, turning this familiar 10 year old design into a charismatic creamsicle-coloured cherub.
Though a dated interior, the 500e's cream white dash and matching faux-leather seats spruce the space up enough to take eyes off of the hard plastics. Orange accents on the doors and the seating add a playful, premium flair, albeit once your hand's drawn to them, do you realize this is still an economy car.
Buttons and dials are close at hand and easy to use, and felt relatively satisfying to press, save for the one blank 'dead' button below the climate controls. I wish companies would make the effort to turn dead buttons into something, even if it's redundant functionality.
A single digital display occupies the gauge pod, providing easy to read speed, mileage and remaining power information. Like some other electrics and hybrids, the 500e provides feedback on your driving; green for being energy efficient, red for not. It's not as gamified as Ford's use of green leaves in their system but it works well enough.
Using manual controls, finding a comfortable seating position for my 6'3 frame was easy, with legroom to spare. The seats didn't feel as if I'd slid into a penalty box, and I felt well supported. Aside from the chunky B-pillars, the seats provided a commanding view of the road, moreso than some other cars I've driven in this class.
Rear space is adequate for a grocery run, and with the seats folded down, the 500e is surprisingly spacious.
The Cinquecento With Zip
Upon starting the vehicle, an other-worldly digital screech pierced the cabin for over three seconds and my nightmares forever. The sound was similar to someone holding a microphone near a speaker. This apparently was an issue with the head-unit which the dealer promised would be fixed. However, upon looking through some paperwork, it seems attempts to fix the issue had taken place by the prior dealer. Having something like this happen on a fairly new car speaks volumes about FIAT's quality.
But after you hit 'D' on the centre console and hit the road, the 500e's gremlins took a back seat in what is a genuinely fun runabout.
Acceleration from 0 - 50km/h is brisk, and I found myself taking the right lane at red lights to get the jump on everyone else. While nowhere as visceral as a Tesla's take-off, the FIAT springs forward with just enough brio to put a cheeky smirk on your face, not unlike the one you had when you drove a go-kart for the first time.
Dancing through traffic is a breeze with the 500e's instant torque and diminutive proportions. Zipping in and out of lanes, and around city corners is good fun, despite the hard, mileage-oriented tires and extra 600 lbs from the batteries, as well as the large B-pillar on the left side which creates a sizeable blind spot.
The 500e's steering is engaging enough for most of us, and the car would likely be an entertaining cliffside drive alternative to its Abarth cousin.
Parking the FIAT is simple, with it's small stature and included sensors making it easy to whip in and out of stalls, and in-between cars, even with the blind sports impeding vision. Best of all, the 500e's driver likely won't have to hunt for a spot very long, with plenty of EV-specific stalls in parkades.
With about 150 kilometers of range, the 500e's is suitable for the average Canadian commute of 17km to work.
(Insert Stereotypical Italian Phrase Here)
I didn't have an opportunity to take the 500e on the freeway, nor charge it. Range is a respectable 150km, which is competitive considering a current-year base model Nissan Leaf and standard Smart Electric clock in at 135km and 160km respectively, while the FIAT offers arguably more spirited handling and panache.
At used prices hovering around $15,000 CAD and fairly low mileages, the 500e makes a great deal of sense as a primary car for people living in or adjacent to a city.
I have two major concerns:
First, is that FIAT's battery warranty is not applicable in Canada. This means that owners will have to pay out of pocket in the event of issues. Dealers are being fairly up-front about this, however some of their ads promise 'free powertrain warranty' or 'free lifetime engine warranty,' which don't apply to the battery system and while likely from a template, are dubious.
Second of course, is FIAT's own reliability track record, which reinforces my first concern.
By William Maley
FCA US Reports June 2017 Sales
Ram pickup truck sales up 5 percent; best June sales ever Jeep® Grand Cherokee posts best June sales since 2005 Chrysler Pacifica minivan sales up 59 percent; best sales month since launch last year July 3, 2017 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - FCA US LLC today reported sales of 187,348 units, a 7 percent decrease compared with sales in June 2016 (202,421 units).
In June, retail sales of 139,947 units were down 5 percent compared with the same month in 2016, and represented 75 percent of total sales. In line with FCA’s strategy to reduce sales to the daily rental segment, fleet sales of 47,401 units were down as expected 15 percent year over year. The largest planned volume reduction in June fleet sales came from the Jeep brand which reduced its fleet sales number by 49 percent year over year. Fleet sales represented 25 percent of total June sales.
The Ram pickup truck, Ram ProMaster and Ram ProMaster City each posted their best June sales ever. Sales of the Jeep® Grand Cherokee were up 21 percent for its best June sales since 2005. The Jeep Renegade recorded its best June sales ever. Sales of the all-new Chrysler Pacifica were up 59 percent, the minivan’s best sales month since launch last year.
Ram Truck Brand
Sales of the Ram pickup truck were up 5 percent year over year for its best June sales ever. The Ram ProMaster full-size van and Ram ProMaster City van also posted their best June sales ever. The Ram Truck brand ended the month with its best June sales since 2004. Ram Truck is the industry’s most improved truck brand with more than a 24 percent improvement in the brand’s initial quality score from last year’s J.D. Power U.S. Initial Quality StudySM (IQS). The annual IQS results for 2017 were announced in June.
The Ram Truck brand in June introduced the new 2018 Ram Limited Tungsten Edition, the most luxurious Ram pickup truck ever. The enhanced interior and exterior trim aligns with Ram’s leadership in design and luxury. The Limited Tungsten Edition MSRP starts at $55,120 (not including $1,395 destination).
Sales of the Jeep Grand Cherokee – the most awarded SUV ever – were up 21 percent in June for its best June sales since 2005. In addition, the Jeep Renegade recorded its best June sales ever. The Jeep Compass posted its best sales month so far this year.
Three Dodge brand vehicles posted year-over-year sales increases in June, led by the Dodge Challenger muscle car with its 24 percent year-over-year sales gain. Dodge Grand Caravan sales were up 9 percent for its best June sales since 2006. Dodge Viper sales increased 46 percent, compared with the same month a year ago. The Challenger and Grand Caravan ranked second in initial quality in their respective segments in the J.D. Power IQS.
Sales of the all-new Chrysler Pacifica and Chrysler 300 full-size sedan were up year-over-year in June. Sales of the Pacifica – the most awarded minivan of 2016 and 2017 – were up 59 percent in June, compared with the same month a year ago. June was the minivan’s best sales month since it was launched last year. The Pacifica continues to accumulate awards and accolades in 2017, including highest-ranking minivan in its maiden year in the J.D. Power IQS. Chrysler 300 sales were up 47 percent in June, compared with the same month a year ago. It was the full-size sedan’s best June sales since 2012. June was the Chrysler brand’s best sales month so far this year.
The all-new 2017 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth took the top award in the “Small Convertible” category at last month’s Topless in Miami Presented by Haartz competitive car event hosted by the Southern Automotive Media Association (SAMA). More than 40 journalists attended the event and drove more than 25 vehicles from various manufacturers. Journalists voted for their favorite vehicles after driving scenic routes in Key Biscayne, Fla.
Alfa Romeo Brand
Alfa Romeo brand sales of 1,017 units were up significantly compared with the same month a year ago.
FCA US LLC Sales Summary June 2017
Town & Country
FCA US LLC
ICE - Hybrid - EVs, Who is doing it right, wrong or what?
I figure we have our own views of how American and Asian auto companies are doing it. European auto companies have jumped in with big plans for updated ICE, Hybrid and EV's coming out over the next 5-7 years. I would like to open the discussion on the differences and if you feel they are doing it right, wrong, or just what in regards to the rest of the world. Also, as we are seeing with Mercedes Benz announcement, they have Hybrids, but are they really Hybrids or just performance boosting models using electric motors?
So start off with your thoughts on these European models and if any name plates are missing please state the company name and explain why you believe they are doing it right, wrong or just different.
Sound off on the discussion of the European brands!
By William Maley
FCA US Reports May 2017 Sales
Ram Truck brand sales up 18 percent; pickup sales increase 16 percent versus same month a year ago Dodge brand sales up 8 percent; five Dodge vehicles post year-over-year sales gains Jeep® Grand Cherokee records 14 percent increase All-new Chrysler Pacifica minivan posts best sales month since launch last year June 1, 2017 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - FCA US LLC today reported sales of 193,040 units, a 1 percent decrease compared with sales in May 2016 (194,720 units).
In May, retail sales of 152,227 units were up 1 percent compared with the same month in 2016, and represented 79 percent of total sales. Fleet sales of 40,813 units were down 7 percent year over year as FCA US continues its strategy of reducing sales to the daily rental segment. Fleet sales represented 21 percent of total May sales.
The Ram Truck and Dodge brands each posted year-over-year sales increases in May, compared with the same month in 2016. Ram Truck brand sales were up 18 percent driven by the 16 percent increase in Ram pickup truck sales. Dodge brand sales were up 8 percent in May as five Dodge vehicles posted year-over-year sales gains, led by the Dodge Grand Caravan’s 58 percent increase. Jeep® Grand Cherokee sales increased 14 percent, while sales of the Jeep Wrangler were up 2 percent as well. Sales of the all-new Chrysler Pacifica minivan – the most awarded minivan of 2016 and 2017 – posted a 325 percent increase in May, compared with the same month a year ago.
Ram Truck Brand
Ram pickup truck sales increased 16 percent in May, compared with the same month a year ago. The Ram 1500 pickup won accolades as the Best Family Pickup Truck – the second year in a row it has received this honor – at the annual Family Car Challenge hosted by the Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association (GAAMA). Ram Truck brand sales – which also include the Ram ProMaster and Ram ProMaster City vans – were up 18 percent for the month. Sales of the ProMaster full-size van increased 50 percent in May, while the Ram ProMaster City van posted a 10 percent sales gain.
Sales of the Jeep Grand Cherokee – the most awarded SUV ever – were up 14 percent in May, compared with the same month a year ago. Jeep Wrangler sales increased 2 percent in the month as well. Jeep brand sales were down 15 percent in May as the brand continues its planned reduction of fleet sales to the daily rental segment. Through May this year, the Jeep brand has reduced its fleet sales by 60 percent, compared with fleet sales during the same five-month period last year.
Sales of the all-new 2017 Jeep Compass more than doubled from the previous month of April as Jeep dealers continue to build their new Compass inventories. The new Compass was named winner of the Compact Utility Vehicle category at the annual Mudfest competition hosted by the Northwest Automotive Press Association (NWAPA) in May. The new Compass also was crowned Activity Vehicle of Texas at the Texas Auto Roundup hosted by the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA).
In May, the 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT won Performance Utility Vehicle of Texas at the Texas Auto Roundup, and the 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk won the Premium Utility Vehicle segment in the Mudfest challenge.
Five Dodge brand vehicles posted year-over-year sales increases in May, led by the Dodge Grand Caravan’s 58 percent sales gain. Sales of the Dodge Journey full-size crossover were up 23 percent, while the Dodge Durango and Dodge Viper each turned in double-digit percentage increases as well during the month. The Dodge Challenger muscle car turned in a 2 percent increase in May. Dodge brand sales were up 8 percent in May, compared with the same month a year ago.
Sales of the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica – the most awarded minivan of 2016 and 2017 – were up 325 percent in May, compared with the same month a year ago. May was the minivan’s best sales month since it was launched last year. The Pacifica continues to accumulate awards and accolades in 2017, including Best Three-row Family Car honors at the Family Car Challenge hosted by the Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association in May. In addition, the all-new Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid – now on sale in Chrysler dealerships – was honored with overall Best Family Car and Best Technology Family Car at the GAAMA competition.
Fiat 124 Spider sales were up 21 percent compared with the previous month of April. May was the 124 Spider’s best sales month since its launch in July 2016. The FIAT brand announced in May that it is offering new looks for its iconic, Italian-designed, fun-to-drive Fiat 500. Customers may give their Cinquecentos even more style by adding the new optional appearance packages: Sport Black Trim; Two-Tone; and Abarth Roof, Mirror Cap and Body Stripe. Additional options include an automatic transmission, sunroof and Cabrio.
Alfa Romeo Brand
Alfa Romeo brand sales of 919 units were up significantly compared with the same month a year ago.
FCA US LLC Sales Summary May 2017 Month Sales Vol % CYTD Sales Vol % Model Curr Yr Pr Yr Change Curr Yr Pr Yr Change Compass 5,363 9,492 -43% 17,435 41,608 -58% Patriot 4,978 10,494 -53% 26,097 50,109 -48% Wrangler 19,931 19,558 2% 80,083 80,320 0% Cherokee 14,635 19,206 -24% 69,473 84,610 -18% Grand Cherokee 20,726 18,205 14% 96,203 83,631 15% Renegade 9,883 11,616 -15% 43,847 43,200 1% JEEP BRAND 75,516 88,571 -15% 333,138 383,478 -13% 200 2,300 6,020 -62% 11,777 28,138 -58% 300 3,907 4,838 -19% 22,918 27,296 -16% Town & Country 42 4,681 -99% 460 47,938 -99% Pacifica 11,720 2,760 325% 47,199 3,242 New CHRYSLER BRAND 17,969 18,299 -2% 82,354 106,614 -23% Dart 1,195 4,790 -75% 7,139 25,387 -72% Avenger 0 6 -100% 0 37 -100% Charger 7,518 8,384 -10% 36,774 41,957 -12% Challenger 6,989 6,833 2% 29,305 29,264 0% Viper 85 47 81% 319 245 30% Journey 8,003 6,487 23% 50,804 35,261 44% Caravan 13,786 8,733 58% 63,657 59,029 8% Durango 7,346 6,173 19% 30,432 31,677 -4% DODGE BRAND 44,922 41,453 8% 218,430 222,857 -2% Ram P/U 44,850 38,569 16% 207,370 192,131 8% Cargo Van 0 1 -100% 0 20 -100% ProMaster Van 4,233 2,831 50% 16,981 13,952 22% ProMaster City 1,961 1,782 10% 6,599 8,166 -19% RAM BRAND 51,044 43,183 18% 230,950 214,269 8% 500 1,240 1,573 -21% 6,461 6,672 -3% 500L 163 335 -51% 562 2,063 -73% 500X 703 1,262 -44% 3,427 5,648 -39% Spider 564 0 New 1,990 0 New FIAT BRAND 2,670 3,170 -16% 12,440 14,383 -14% Giulia 883 0 New 2,482 0 New Alfa 4C 36 44 -18% 220 261 -16% ALFA ROMEO 919 44 1989% 2,702 261 935% FCA US LLC 193,040 194,720 -1% 880,014 941,862 -7%
By William Maley
FCA US Reports April 2017 Sales
Ram Truck brand sales up 5 percent; pickup sales increase 8 percent versus same month a year ago Jeep® Grand Cherokee sales up 6 percent, compared with same month a year ago Three Dodge brand vehicles post sales gains; Dodge Journey crossover sales up 72 percent All-new Chrysler Pacifica minivan sales up year over year and best sales month so far this year May 2, 2017 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - FCA US today reported sales of 177,441 units, a 7 percent decrease compared with sales in April 2016 (190,071 units), which now include Maserati brand sales.
In April, fleet sales of 30,650 units were down 21 percent year over year as FCA US continues its strategy of reducing sales to the daily rental segment. Fleet sales represented 17 percent of total sales in April. Retail sales of 146,791 units were down 3 percent for the month, and represented 83 percent of total April sales.
Ram Truck brand sales were up 5 percent year over year in April, compared with the same month a year ago. The increase was driven by an 8 percent increase in Ram pickup truck sales. Three Dodge brand vehicles posted sales gains, led by the Dodge Journey crossover’s 72 percent year-over-year increase. The Jeep Grand Cherokee posted a 6 percent sales gain in April. Sales of the all-new Chrysler Pacifica minivan – the most awarded minivan of 2016 and 2017 – increased year over year in April, versus the same month a year ago and turned in its best sales month so far this year.
Ram Truck Brand
Ram pickup truck sales increased 8 percent in April, compared with the same month a year ago. Ram Truck brand sales – which also include the Ram ProMaster and Ram ProMaster City vans – were up 5 percent for the month. The Fast Lane Truck (TFLtruck) in April honored the 2017 Ram 3500 with a Gold Hitch award for the heavy-duty segment. The 6.7-liter Cummins diesel-powered Ram 3500 Heavy Duty took top honors for outstanding pulling power, braking, fuel economy, comfort and handling under extreme towing conditions.
Jeep Grand Cherokee sales were up 6 percent in April, compared with the same month a year ago. The brand’s total sales for the month were down as the brand launches the all-new 2017 Jeep Compass and continues to reduce its fleet sales volume to the daily rental segment. The all-new Compass is now arriving in Jeep dealerships in greater numbers. The new Compass is the only compact SUV to offer a nine-speed automatic transmission, and is standard on all Compass 4x4 models. The Jeep brand unveiled the 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk at the New York International Auto Show in April. The Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is the most powerful and quickest SUV ever. Powering the Trackhawk is a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 engine delivering 707 horsepower and 645 lb.-ft. of torque. Built in Detroit at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant, the Trackhawk will arrive in Jeep showrooms in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Three Dodge brand vehicles posted year-over-year sales increases in April, led by the Dodge Journey crossover’s 72 percent sales gain. Sales of the Dodge Challenger coupe were up 5 percent, while Dodge Durango full-size SUV sales increased 17 percent in April, compared with the same month a year ago. The 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon – the World’s Fastest 0-60 Production Car and the Dodge brand’s new ultimate performance halo – was unveiled in April during the 2017 New York International Auto Show. The limited-production Challenger SRT Demon is powered by an 840-horsepower, supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI® Demon V-8, the world’s most powerful factory-production V-8 engine.
The all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica – the most awarded minivan of 2016 and 2017 – posted its best sales month so far this year in April. Pacifica sales were up year over year, and increased 12 percent compared with sales in the previous month of March. In addition, the all-new Chrysler Pacific Hybrid minivan began shipping to Chrysler dealerships last month. The Pacifica continues to accrue awards and accolades in 2017, including the 2017 Crossover-SUV of the Year by the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP), the best minivan in Popular Mechanics’ annual Automotive Excellence Awards, and the best minivan of 2017 by the New York Daily News Autos team in the newspaper’s second annual Auto Awards.
Fiat 124 Spider sales were up 11 percent compared with the previous month of March. April was the 124 Spider’s best sales month so far this year. The 124 Spider was named Best Sports Car for the Money by U.S. News & World Report.
Alfa Romeo Brand
Alfa Romeo brand sales of 677 units increased 1,047 percent compared with the same month a year ago.
Maserati brand sales of 1,265 units were up 19 percent versus the same month in 2016.
U.S. Sales Summary April 2017
Town & Country
FCA U.S. Market
FCA US LLC
 The Maserati Brand is distributed in the United States by Maserati North America, Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. All other brands listed in this release are distributed by FCA US LLC.
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