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Old 02-11-2010, 12:27 PM   #1
darknightohio
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Default Mexico: Fiat Preps for U.S. Comeback with 500

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TOLUCA, Mexico — The Fiat 500 started rolling out of the Toluca assembly plant here this week, the first step in the automaker's return to the U.S. market after a 15-year absence. Fiat president Sergio Marchionne, along with Mexico president Felipe Calderón, were present as production kicked off on the Cinquecento hatchback.

The 2011 Fiat 500 will be the flagship for the Italian automaker's comeback to the U.S. market. Other Fiat and Lancia vehicles will be re-branded as Chryslers, Dodges or Jeeps. But Fiat intends to push its own brand through the 500 and eventually differentiate its cars from Chrysler's brands.

The challenge will be significant. The 500 is a tiny three-door hatchback with extremely limited space for rear passengers. Although it was clearly not designed for the U.S. market, the model has proven to be a hot seller elsewhere, especially in Europe and Brazil. Its fuel efficiency in a time of rising oil prices should be a selling point, and its retro styling could win it U.S. fans in much the same fashion as the similarly sized Mini Cooper.

Fiat announced it will produce between 100,000 to 130,000 vehicles a year for the U.S. market, as well as Mexico and South America. The Mexican government, through its development banks, Nacional Financiera and Bancomext, loaned $400 million at preferential interest rates so the Toluca facility could be retooled. In addition to the technology and internal resources of the Italian automaker, the assembly plant received a total investment of around $550 million.

Fiat assembled its first car in North America in 1910 at a plant located in Poughkeepsie, New York, which was idled not long afterward with the arrival of World War I. Fiat's footprint in the U.S. for the past century was weak and its distribution network was limited. The automaker pulled out of the U.S. market altogether in the 1980s.

Inside Line says: Whether we're ready or not, Fiat-Chrysler is gearing up to build the 2011 Fiat 500 in Mexico. — Loriana Marietta, Correspondent
http://www.insideline.com/fiat/500/2...-with-500.html

And so it begins...
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Old 02-11-2010, 12:45 PM   #2
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I had not been following this.......Made in Mexico, huh? Too bad as that rules one out for me. I'll take made in Japan or Germany, or the US at this point.........
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Old 02-11-2010, 01:50 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by SilverSubaab View Post
I had not been following this.......Made in Mexico, huh? Too bad as that rules one out for me. I'll take made in Japan or Germany, or the US at this point.........
I do not dislike Mexicans, and suspect that the quality will be on par with their cars produced elsewhere.

On sites like this, I'm sure the 500 will be about as well-received as a SMART ForTwo once it turns up on US roads. Let the hatemongering begin.
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Old 02-11-2010, 01:54 PM   #4
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ok.... how much?!
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Old 02-11-2010, 02:01 PM   #5
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I do not dislike Mexicans, and suspect that the quality will be on par with their cars produced elsewhere.

On sites like this, I'm sure the 500 will be about as well-received as a SMART ForTwo once it turns up on US roads. Let the hatemongering begin.

#1. I do not dislike "Mexicans" either, no one stated anything near that, but I have had cars built there in the past and was not impressed with the quality. The same goes for me and American cars. I have always noticed a difference in cars made in Japan and Germany in terms of build quality. It appears that American companies are starting to turn things around and I might give them a shot again in the future should something catch my eye (I'm looking at you Ford - bring the damn RS here!!!).

#2. On sites like this, a car enthusiast forum, the response has appeared to be positive. It appears to be a cool little car that might be fun to drive even in standard spec, let alone the Abarth version. There was another thread on this car kicking around and most, including myself, were excited at the possibilities.
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Old 02-11-2010, 02:21 PM   #6
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Abarth?
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Old 02-11-2010, 02:28 PM   #7
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I'll take one 500 with some Abarth sauce.
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Old 02-11-2010, 02:34 PM   #8
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Have the Mexican built Jetta's & Rabbits/Golfs had comparatively more quality problems than the German built GTI?

I owned two Ford Focus models; a 2001 zx3 and a 2004 SVT, never had any build quality issues. Questionable engineering issues, but nothing build quality wise (weird rattles, stuff falling off, inconsistent panel gaps). Both were built in Hermosillo, Mexico. The Fusion is built in Mexico, last I heard it is the talk of automotive journalist town.

Frankly I'd feel better about the cars built in Mexico than say Michigan, something about those labor unions....
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Old 02-11-2010, 03:12 PM   #9
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Iegav05,

Your still alive?
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Old 02-11-2010, 03:16 PM   #10
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Gilles: Fiat 500 on sale in U.S. by the end of 2010

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Ralph Gilles, Dodge CEO and Chrysler Group design head, has just wrapped up an address to the Chicago Economic Club that was peppered with several choice quotes and quips. You can read the Chrysler's PR-filtered version on its Twitter feed, but here are our favorites:

From the true: "Brands and companies don't die. They are victims of homicide."

To the sublime: "Viper important to image of "my brand" [Dodge]"

To the ridiculous: "The further away you are from Detroit the less you know the facts about the auto industry."

To the more ridiculous: "I liken management to X-Men... all have special abilities."

To the funny/creepy: Ad agency interviewed him before creating Super Bowl spot. "I had to smoke a cigarette," afterwards, he joked.

To the important: "Fiat 500 on sale in U.S. at end of the year"

That last bit coincides with earlier reports that the Fiat 500 could reach the States as early as this year as a 2011 model. Although the 500's importation into the U.S. has been fast-tracked, there's still some question about whether it will meet U.S. crash and safety standards. We expect to have an exact on sale date soon, and Gilles also said that the all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee is due to go on sale within the next three months.
http://www.autoblog.com/2010/02/11/g...e-end-of-2010/
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Old 02-11-2010, 03:45 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Lboogie View Post
Have the Mexican built Jetta's & Rabbits/Golfs had comparatively more quality problems than the German built GTI?
From what I gather (my friend is heavy in the VW scene), the reliability in the newer GTI's has been much better than the older ones. My MkIV GTI was made in Brazil and was, as most MkIV's were, a huge pile of junk. They still have little problems, but that's what makes a VW a VW.

The Fiat, from what I've read, has a long way to go to be reliable. I do think it's a good option for people looking for a small car, better and more useful than the Smart car.
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Old 02-11-2010, 06:12 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Lboogie View Post
Have the Mexican built Jetta's & Rabbits/Golfs had comparatively more quality problems than the German built GTI?

YES!!!! Very much so! Ask anyone with a Mexican built MKIII/MKIV and a German built MKIII/MKIV...


It was not as much of an issue with the MKV, but I think that is because it is much better car in general.
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Old 02-11-2010, 06:12 PM   #13
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Yeah my Ex had a Mk4 GTi.....love those electrical systems.
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Old 02-11-2010, 06:42 PM   #14
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[dr. farnsworth] good news everybody [/dr. farnsworth]


Nick
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Old 02-11-2010, 07:58 PM   #15
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Yeah, I'd be interested to see pricing too. It better be on par with a Fit rather than with a MINI but i guess the initial MSRP will be high to maximize profit from the fashionable crowd that needs to be "cool" the earliest
Oh and I'll be waiting for Abarth or MiTo as well as it's time to let the MINI go.
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Old 02-11-2010, 08:30 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by BeatLA View Post
From what I gather (my friend is heavy in the VW scene), the reliability in the newer GTI's has been much better than the older ones. My MkIV GTI was made in Brazil and was, as most MkIV's were, a huge pile of junk. They still have little problems, but that's what makes a VW a VW.

The Fiat, from what I've read, has a long way to go to be reliable. I do think it's a good option for people looking for a small car, better and more useful than the Smart car.
As far as I'm concerned, modern Fiat cars are reliable. This may not have been the case 7~10 years ago, but things have definitely changed. If anything, the addition of the Fiat 500 to the Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep line-up will be a big boost in the reliability department for the group.
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Old 02-11-2010, 08:33 PM   #17
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Yeah, I'd be interested to see pricing too. It better be on par with a Fit rather than with a MINI but i guess the initial MSRP will be high to maximize profit from the fashionable crowd that needs to be "cool" the earliest
Oh and I'll be waiting for Abarth or MiTo as well as it's time to let the MINI go.
If pricing follows what is currently going on in Europe then the 500 will be significantly cheaper than a Mini. The 500 should clearly be in the same ballpark as a Fit or a Yaris if not cheaper.
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Old 02-11-2010, 08:37 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by BlaineWasHere View Post
YES!!!! Very much so! Ask anyone with a Mexican built MKIII/MKIV and a German built MKIII/MKIV...


It was not as much of an issue with the MKV, but I think that is because it is much better car in general.
I like to believe that it was a part supplier problem and not so much a problem with the plants in Mexico.
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Old 02-11-2010, 10:37 PM   #19
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Abarth?
Agreed!
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Old 02-11-2010, 10:56 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by SCRAPPYDO View Post
Iegav05,

Your still alive?
Unfortunately, and proving his idiocy again. The people here have been optimistic about the 500. The kid is so stupid, it's unbearable.
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