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Fiat Behind Schedule In U.S. Rollout

Posted in auto industry, Fiat by Kurt Ernst | February 28th, 2011 | Leave a Reply |

The U.S. spec Fiat 500. Image: Chrysler Group LLC

Chrysler Group, LLC, had ambitious plans for the launch of the Fiat 500 on U.S. soil. Their plan called for a network of 130 dealerships, from coast to coast, up and operational by the end of February. Blame it on an unusually harsh winter, missed construction deadlines or electromagnetic disturbances in the upper atmosphere, but their latest projection shows that only 20 dealerships will be operational as of today. Another 10 to 20 dealerships are expected to be operating by the end of March, but that’s still (at best) only 30% of dealerships. All 130 aren’t expected to be operational until September, causing Fiat USA head Laura Soave to admit the rollout “is a tiny bit behind”.

I haven’t had the opportunity to drive the Fiat 500 yet, but I’m definitely looking forward to it. The first models to hit the U.S. shores will be powered by a 1.4 liter four, good for 101 horsepower and 98 ft lb of torque. The car only weighs 2,350 pounds, so like the first generation Mazda Miata, speed is all about preserving momentum. We get three trim levels at launch (Pop, Sport and Lounge), but enthusiasts will want to wait for the Abarth version of the 500, coming to the States in the not-too-distant future. There’s one in country now, used by Chrysler for testing and development, and from what I understand the car is every bit as good as we hope it will be.

Source: All World Cars

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