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Fiat CEO Doesn’t Want You to Buy the 500e

500e-5-exteriorCEOs of automakers normally want you—or even lure you—to buy their cars.

But not Fiat’s.

Sergio Marchionne, Chief Executive Officer of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, does not want potential buyers to purchase the company’s only electric car, the Fiat 500e.

“I hope you don’t buy it because every time I sell one it costs me $14,000. I’m honest enough to tell you that,” he said at a conference at the Brookings Institution, Reuters reported.

The gasoline-run Fiat 500 starts at nearly $17,000 including delivery charges. But the California-only 500e costs $32,650 excluding federal tax credits. Consumers are not willing to pay the full price that covers the manufacturing costs of the electric vehicle so, Fiat loses money.

As of April this year, the Italian automaker sold 11,514 units of the 500 in the U.S., down by 15 percent from the first quarter last year. The company does not disclose the sales figures for the 500e.

So, Marchionne is not willing to sell more than what it is required to meet the state’s requirements.

“I will sell the (minimum) of what I need to sell and not one more,” he said.

The 500e was built in compliance with the state of California’s mandate which requires automakers to sell zero-emission cars. Electric cars are at this time the easiest way to meet the requirement.

Marchionne said that the U.S. Department of Energy should rather set targets and let the automakers meet them in their own way.

In 2009, Chrysler filed for bankruptcy and received a U.S. taxpayer bailout. Fiat then took over the company and completed the buyout early this year.

Marchionne fears of this happening again if they keep building electric cars.

“If we just build those vehicles, we’ll be back asking…in Washington for a second bailout because we’ll be bankrupt.”

Fiat has recently revealed that it is planning to build several hybrid cars that are powered by both electric and gasoline engines, which will account for at least more than half of sales.

Electric cars are not very appealing to consumers because of their limited driving range and expensive price.




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