Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne on Fiat 500E EV: “Don’t Buy It”

2013 Fiat 500e

Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne is back to his regularly scheduled off-the-cuff remarking. At a conference this week, Reuters reports Marchionne said about the Fiat 500E electric hatchback: ”I hope you don’t buy it because every time I sell one it costs me $14,000.” He then added, “I’m honest enough to tell you that.”

Of course, Fiat-Chrysler doesn’t need Marchionne’s help to not sell Fiat 500Es, a car—like most other EVs—that was created to meet California’s zero-emissions mandates. No automaker building electrics is selling many of them or making much profit, save for perhaps Tesla, whose Model S retails at prices strong enough to offset the high R&D and component costs inherent to EVs.

Mr. Marchionne has gone on record several times with his dislike of electrics and the government regulations dictating he sell them, and he reiterated that stance again at the same conference. “If we just build those vehicles, we’ll be back asking . . . in Washington for a second bailout because we’ll be bankrupt.”

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We happen to think the Fiat 500E is one of the better iterations of the 500 theme—it’s powerful, quick, and feels more planted and substantial than the base gas-fed 500. Of course, the car’s $32,000 price tag is steep for a tiny hatchback with less than 100 miles of driving range, but then range is every EV’s limiting factor. In our first test of the 500E, we reported that Fiat admitted it didn’t want to build the car but stopped short of telling people not to buy one. Now the word is out.

About Alexander Stoklosa