The CEO reportedly said: “I want the [Mexican] 500 in Brazil now.” The urgency is understandable, as an agreement between Mexico and Brazil would mean the little Fiat could arrive duty free, undercutting the current price of 500s made in Poland by 20 percent. However, a Brazilian representative suggested this would not happen before the middle of this year.
At the recent Detroit Auto Show, Marchionne admitted that the Toluca, Mexico, plant has not started building the citycar with an epicyclic-type automatic transmission, which could prove to be vital for its sales success in the US. However a manual 500 would be a good choice in Brazil.
Nearly 30 years after Fiat sold its last car in there, the 2012 Fiat 500 officially makes its debut at the Los Angeles auto show in November of last year. Launched as a direct competitor to the MINI, Fiat’s car is powered by a 101-hp, 1.4-liter four-cylinder with 97 lb-ft (132 Nm)of torque. A multinational effort, the 500 is being assembled in Toluca, Mexico, in the factory that used to build Chrysler’s PT Cruiser.
Differences between the American and European versions are mostly related to comfort: wider and flatter seats, more sound-deadening material, and the addition of an armrest for the driver.