SOURCEAs our friends over at GreenCarReports detail, the deal was discovered by a small group of motorsports enthusiasts who quickly shared the too-good-to-miss deal and helped account for more than 100 of the tiny plug-in cars to fly off dealer lots over the weekend.
Enter Joe Nuxoll, a freelance photographer and racing instructor, who discovered the deal at his local Fiat dealer. Part of a time-limited offer from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, his dealer was offering $2,100 off the $32,000 MSRP of the four-seat electric car for lease customers, bringing the downpayment on a an $82.75 per month, three-year lease deal to $11,000.
Further discounts came courtesy of the standard $7,500 Federal tax credit, and the $2,500 California state purchase rebate. While those buying outright have to apply for the Federal tax credit at the end of the year when calculating their Federal tax bill, those leasing a car have the rebate directly applied to their downpayment by the lease company, which applies for the rebate on the lessee’s behalf. The California state purchase rebate — something that takes a few weeks to arrive in the mail after purchase — only leaves the applicant out of pocket for a short period of time.
Apply both those credits, and the net total that Nuxoll and 100+ other lucky customers had to pay was just $1,000.
SOURCEIn reality it has nothing in common with the pint-sized Fiat 500 city runabout, apart from the name and some styling cues. In fact, it shares its DNA with a Jeep: the box-shaped Renegade (due on month later, in September) has the same underpinnings as the 500X, it’s just wearing a different suit.
Indeed, both the Jeep Renegade and Fiat 500X are made on the same Italian production. Sacre-bleu! Or whatever that might be in Italian. Fiat (as with every other car maker) has figured out that good design pays handsomely.
Consider this: it costs the same to manufacture a beautiful headlight or an elegantly-shaped fender as it does to make something that’s a bit Plain Jane.
Buyers will pay more if a car looks good, impresses their peers, and makes the owner feel warm and fuzzy every time they walk up to it and unlock the doors. Call it a win-win, because the car-makers are making bank.
Fiat (and the rest of the car industry for that matter) believe the phenomenal global growth in SUV sales (and the number of varieties available) is set to continue for the rest of the decade, and may even go beyond 2020.
We’ve not seen anything like this since the invention of the hatchback, which is an interesting parallel because that’s what these cars are effectively replacing.
City-sized SUVs can fit in the same size parking space as a Toyota Corolla and yet have the tall driving position of a Range Rover.
And we can’t get enough of them, which is why even the Italians, who would have scoffed at the idea of a Fiat 500-inspired “faux-wheel-drive” less than a decade ago. Next they’ll be drinking cappuccinos in the afternoon.
There will be two engine choices (well, two different power outputs from the same 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine), three transmissions (two types of automatic and a manual) and four model grades when it arrives in Australia.
No diesel variant is planned at this stage, in part because the petrol engines are so economical nowadays, and diesel engines still attract a price premium because, for some reason, they’re dearer to develop and manufacture, we’re told. We tested the least powerful of the two engine choices matched to a manual transmission.
The stunning Alfa Romeo Mito is one such example: never before has such a beautiful design been layered on top of such a rudimentary underbody: it’s a decades-old Fiat Punto underneath, which is why it doesn’t drive anywhere near as nice as it looks.
SOURCEBelieve it or not, the 500e is now one of the best selling electric cars in the US in 2015 (8% market share for plug-ins in three months), above the Chevrolet Volt! Well, it will be hard to preserve such a result in the longer term, but congrats to Fiat for moving so much electrified metal.
As it turns out, typically the 500e accounts for 10-20% of all Fiat 500 sales, but in March that figure jumped to a record high 40%.
Editor’s note: Fiat has chosen to not disclose 500e sales, so sales are now estimated based on state-level reports and incentives claimed from California (1,223 Clean Vehicle Rebates were claimed in March, double any previous period) and Oregon.
SOURCEThe 500X goes on sale in the second quarter this year, another of the mini SUVs often called "city utes" because their trim size makes them good in tight urban confines.
The Fiat starts at $20.900 for a base, front-drive Pop model. The high-end Trekking Plus with all-wheel drive (AWD) is $28,000.
Least-expensive AWD version is Easy AWD, starting at $23,200.
The 500X is similar underneath to the Jeep Renegade, which went on sale in March. Both brands are part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The two are made together at the same Melfi factory in Italy.
Matte paint has been used now and then by other makers who think it fits the image of a particular model they sell. The paint typically comes with care instructions that warn against commercial brush-style car washes, waxing and other hazards.
Hyundai introduced matte paint on the 2013 Veloster sport coupe and continues offering it on 2016 models -- standard matte blue on the Rally Edition Veloster and matte gray as a $1,000 option on turbo models. Hyundai provides a sample of a product correct for treating matte-finish paint.
Jeep says it offered matte finish paint on the 1993 Wrangler, in blue, green or gold.
Dealers later were bedeviled by second and subsequent owners who complained about the dull finish and were trying to wax it shiny. Because they bought the vehicles used, they apparently didn't get the explanation that new-vehicle buyers got.
The dull-finish look has become popular among sports stars and celebrities, so it's being emulated. But rather than repaint a shiny car dull, some after-market companies sell matte-finish vinyl wraps, singole-color coverings similar to the advertising wraps that sport logos and decorations on some delivery trucks.
Labor to install the wrap drives up the price, especially if the car has to be partly disassembled to get a tight fit so the result resembles paint rather than a covering.
Online ads list prices around $5,000 -- very roughly, and depending a lot on the vehicle involved and whether the owner wants visible interior panels, such as door sills, wrapped, too.
Wraps later can be removed, and in the meantime, sellers say, they have protected the original paint making the car easier to sell or worth more as a trade. One seller warns that it's "a bit of a tedious process," which signals a high price for doing so.
A company called Auto SuperShield, based in Boca Raton, Fla., advertises its car wraps thus:
"Your car will stand out by not standing out with a sleek, matte black car wrap. Turn your ride from a shiny mirror into the deep black silhouetted look that is currently sought after by many prominent car owners seeking a low-profile look that shows off the beauty of the car without the distortion caused by reflections."
The look can be traced back at least to the 1950s, when budget-pinched hot-rodders put all their cash (and credit, those who had any) into engine modifications and bigger wheels and tires, and left the cars wearing gray primer paint -- always insisting they'd get around to finishing the paint job in eye-popping candy apple red or fire-mist metallic or silver metal-flake any day now.