If you’re in the market for an electric car, don’t bother buying the Fiat 500e.
That’s the official opinion of Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, who told an audience at the Brookings Institution in Washington yesterday that he’s fed up of loosing money to the three-door electric hatch.
So much so that he’s actively telling would-be electric car customers to buy someone else’s car instead.
“I hope you don’t buy it because every time I sell one it cost me $14,000,” he said. “I’m honest enough to tell you that.”
Not known for his love of electric cars, this isn’t the first time Marchionne has publicly moaned about the amount of money Fiat’s 500e program has cost the automaker, critisizing California’s zero-emission vehicle mandate which requires all automakers to produce and sell a proportion of zero emission vehicles in the state in order to sell traditional cars there.
As a consequence, the Fiat 500e is known in the industry as a ‘compliance car’ — a vehicle made by an automaker purely for the purpose of meeting California’s ZEV mandate.
“I will sell the (minimum) of what I need to sell and not one more,” Marchionne ranted, saying that if Fiat Chrysler continued to lose $14,000 on every Fiat 500e it was being forced to build, it would be in financial trouble.
“If we just built those vehicles, we’ll be back asking…in Washington for a second bailout because we’ll be be bankrupt,” he said.
Back in 2009, Chrysler filed for bankruptcy and was rescued by a bailout from the U.S. Government and a merging with Fiat.
Electric cars Marchionne claims, are a waste of that money.
Fiat’s all-electric 500e is fitted with an 83 kilowatt electric motors and a 24 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. Under EPA test conditions, it manages an official range of 87 miles per charge. It retails at $31,800 before Federal and state incentives.
Like the Toyota RAV4 EV — also produced under duress in order to meet California ZEV mandates — the Fiat 500e’s days are undoubtedly numbered. But with plenty of other electric cars to choose from on the market today — including the similarly-sized Chevy Spark EV — we don’t think Marchionne’s latest anti-electric car rant will discourage anyone from making the switch to electric.
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