Mirafiori factory where Fita 500 model is made

Stellantis expected to announce new Fiat 500 model made in Italy

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Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares is expected to announce that the fully electric Fiat 500 model will soon have a gasoline version with a mild hybrid powertrain, according to supplier information.

This decision would provide a significant boost to the Mirafiori factory. The existing gasoline 500 model, launched in 2007, was previously built in Poland, but production has ceased. The 500e, which is slightly larger and built on an electric-only platform, will now see an unusual adaptation to include a mild hybrid variant.

Suppliers informed Automotive News Europe that they received requests for quotations (RFQs) from Stellantis Italy to increase production of the 500 with both powertrains to 200,000 units per year. In March, Stellantis had already sought quotations to boost 500e production at Mirafiori from 77,260 units in 2023 to 175,000 units annually.

The potential platform change was initially reported by the Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera and confirmed by suppliers in March. The new production target of 200,000 units includes 125,000 gasoline-engine models, according to suppliers who requested anonymity.

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500e model sales down in first four months of 2024

Between January and April, Fiat sold 12,288 units of the 500e in the EU, U.K., and EFTA countries, down from 17,363 during the same period last year, according to Dataforce. Meanwhile, sales of the gasoline 500 fell from 40,750 to 32,504.

Tavares is set to meet with Italian union representatives on Monday in Turin and is likely to announce the addition of the mild hybrid version of the 500. A Stellantis spokesperson mentioned that the project is under consideration but not yet finalised.

Converting a vehicle designed for electric-only use to accommodate internal combustion is highly unusual. Fiat is considering this move because the previous gasoline-powered 500 cannot be sold in Europe due to the lack of homologation for new EU safety and cybersecurity regulations effective from 7th July.

Although European sales will be discontinued, the current gasoline 500 will continue production for Africa and the Middle East, with its manufacturing lines relocating to Stellantis’ Tafraoui-Orano factory in Algeria.

Introducing a gasoline version of the 500e at Mirafiori could alleviate union concerns about reduced 500e production volumes and support the Italian government’s aim to maintain auto production at no less than 1 million units annually. Stellantis is Italy’s sole volume car manufacturer.

Layoffs at Mirafiori plant earlier this year

In response to sluggish 500e sales this year, Fiat cut one of two shifts at Mirafiori in mid-February and implemented temporary layoffs in March, April, and May. Last year, Fiat sold over 104,000 gasoline 500s and more than 62,000 500es in Europe, according to Dataforce.

Production of a mild-hybrid variant, using the 1.0-liter, 70-hp FireFly gasoline engine found in the ICE 500 and the Panda, could start as early as late 2025 or early 2026, industry sources told ANE. This would create a gap in the 500 lineup, with the outgoing gasoline model priced at €17,700 in Italy, while the 500e starts at €29,950.

Italian unions fear that declining demand for the 500e in Europe could reduce Mirafiori’s output to 40,000-50,000 units from the planned 100,000 this year, despite the model being exported to the U.S.

The 500e, launched in 2020, saw production reach 77,500 in 2022. Fiat aimed for 90,000 units last year, but production remained at 77,260 due to falling demand in the second half of the year.

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