Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne has asked that no one goes out and buys the electric Fiat 500e because very time that happens Fiat loses $14,000.
The electric Fiat 500e arrived as a concept at the Detroit Auto Show in 2010 and finally arrived as a production reality at the Los Angeles Show in 2012 before going on sale in the US.
The 500e is an appealing little car for zapping around town, especially if you only do a relatively low mileage every day and have somewhere to plug it in. But it is rather expensive.
On sale only in California, Fiat admitted that every 500e they sell will cost them $10,000, but it seems they got their sums a bit wrong (it’s a Fiat speciality) and each 500e sold actually creates a loss of $14,000.
That loss has inspired Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne, speaking at the Brookings Institution in Washington, to issue a heartfelt plea to anyone considering buying a 500e:
If you are considering buying a 500e I hope you don’t buy it, because every time I sell one it costs me $14,000.
It’s not the sort of request you’ll often hear from the CEO of a car maker (or the CEO of any business), but this is a special case, with California’s zero emission mandate effectively forcing car makers in to offering ultra low emission cars.
The trouble is, there are enough perverse people in California with deep enough pockets to go out and buy a 500e to spite Marchionne for taking control of Chrylser.
So Marchionne’s plea may have the opposite effect to the one he intended.