5 reasons why the new Fiat 500X will be a success

Photo by my friend Daniele Capozucca

Photo by my friend Daniele Capozucca

Finally the new Fiat 500X is here. After more than 2 years of its quick appearance during the 500L official presentation, Fiat is back in the small SUV segment (the Sedici was one of the first B-SUV) with a very competitive product. It was presented at Paris motor show during a very nice conference press held by Fiat brand chief, Olivier François. Even if the new Italian born wasn’t playing as local in the French auto show, it was considered by many car magazines as one of the most important launches of the event. And is true. The 500X is at the end the car, along with the Jeep Renegade, that will have the role of helping Fiat to stop losing market share and gain more visibility in European markets. It is the nameplate that will demonstrate that it is possible to invest in Italy and produce upscale cars for export markets. If Fiat fails this time, it is going to be hard to keep its European business unit as it is now. Chrysler wouldn’t be able to maintain the whole Fiat operations as Brazilian results continue to slow down and China is still too small. However that scenario seems to be unrealistic, and the new Fiat was born to be success, in and outside Italy. This is why.

Photos by Daniele Capozucca

Photos by Daniele Capozucca

1. 500 soul. Unlike the 500L, the new 500X respects the basics of the popular Fiat 500. The car doesn’t only look as the small city-car but it focuses on the details such as the 500 does. The Fiat 500X is full of design and useful details that make the difference when a customer decides. Based on the success of the Cinquecento, which at its 7th year is the absolute king of European and USA A-Segment, a bigger and more powerful version, along with the increasing demand for small SUVs, would have an important role in the B-SUV segment. Of course the demand would depend somehow on the price. Yet again the 500 is another example of how the brand can ask more money for a semi-premium car. And that could be the case of the new SUV, which based on its stylish, cool and dynamic values, Fiat could position it above the French and German competitors and even in that case it will have an important role in this segment.

Jeep e Fiat2. Jeep expertise. The Fiat 500X is the Italian stylish version of the Jeep Renegade, the bad boy. This means that it is not a mere SUV experiment but it makes use of the world’s most famous and best SUV maker: Jeep. The car offers 3 kind of transmissions, the ultimate 9-speed automatic gearbox and many other features that none of its rivals can even think about it. Yes, both SUVs use the 500L platform and share a lot of parts. But the 500X isn’t a ‘SUV wanna be’. It is a crossover with real SUV capabilities, which at the end will count specially in markets such as USA.

Even if it was presented in Paris, where Renault and PSA play as locals, the new 500X was one of the main characters of that auto show.

Even if it was presented in Paris, where Renault and PSA play as locals, the new 500X was one of the main characters of that auto show.

3. First impressions. The car is extremely popular on the web. It was even considered the car of the motor show by some Italian and non-Italian web car magazines. Sites such as Automotive News Europe, positioned the 500X presentation as the main article during Thursday and Friday. Besides, right after the first official pictures were revealed, the general opinion of public is very positive. Comments all over the web, including social networks, blogs, forums and mainstream news, were quite good and this time it seems that a big part of the audience really like the car. This is quite unusual when a new car is presented as most of the times people’s opinion gets divided by those who love or hate it. And believe me, internet is now a very good indicator of what’s really happening in the off-line world.

Italy and USA will become the new Fiat 500X's most important markets. There, the small SUVs are becoming popular but in the States are still far from leading the SUV segment. A lot of opportunities to come.

Italy and USA will become the new Fiat 500X’s most important markets. There, the small SUVs are becoming popular but in the States are still far from leading the SUV segment. A lot of opportunities to come. Source: Good Car Bad Car, UNRAE, ANFIA

4. More room for more small SUVs. The boom hasn’t stopped yet. After the arrival of the French and Germans and their success, the market is still in a shift from regular segments (B and C) to the entry SUVs. It is happening in a massive way in France and somehow in Germany, Spain and Britain. Consumers are considering the B-SUVs as a serious alternative to the usual Fiestas, Corsas, Clios and so on, while others aren’t even considering the small MPVs, just as it is happening to the Opel Meriva and Ford B-Max. Italy is one of the remaining big European markets where the small SUV market hasn’t taken off at all. Last year the B-SUV segment counted for 5,6% of Italian car sales, with the Renault-Nissan leading the segment (41,5% share), and followed by GM with 17,90% and BMW with 17,82%. Fiat has a room for a successful mini-SUV.

5. A step forward in terms of quality.  Based on the press comments and people who saw the car (thanks Daniele), Fiat made a huge improvement in terms of quality. The interior doesn’t only look nice but it is made of high quality materials that haven’t been used before. This means that the company finally got the message and now is ready to offer not only cool but high quality cars for all levels. European and American consumer will appreciate this and of course it will be another key element for the decision-making.

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7 responses to “5 reasons why the new Fiat 500X will be a success

  1. Hi again Juan, thanks.

    A follow-up thought from an ’emerging market’ perspective.
    Shouldn’t Fiat treat this car as a sort of flagship model in countries like Brazil, China, Asean, Turkey, Egypt and India? Rather than just rely on the Jeep nameplate for premium, CUV/SUV sales. In which case the 500X must be locally manufactured and not just imported or assembled, at least in Brazil, China and India? I gather there is another, less obviously premium b-suv under development in Brazil for global markets, but i do feel that esp for India Fiat must commit to the 500x too, and not just the Jeep Renegade/C-Suv that they’ve promised. It WILL sell, and it will do the job boosting the confidence in the Fiat brand, PROVIDED it is localized and not just offered as a useless ‘halo’ car imported from Europe. Similar things could be said for Brazil, China and Asean? What do you think? Is this car viable for production in emerging markets rather than just exports from Europe?

    • Hi there.
      As I told you before, the 500X and Renegade will be the base for local adaptations in emerging markets. The 500 family is mostly conceived for developed markets as it is a more premium concept. In countries like India or Brazil, a big part of the consumers won’t buy a 500 because they don’t care about style or cool positioning. However Fiat will use their base to develop dedicated small SUVs for local needs. The locally built Renegade will debut in Sao Paulo motor show in Brazil, and the Avventura is just the first test Fiat will have to understand the Indian consumer towards small SUV/crossovers.

  2. thanks Juan. Yes they do need a more premium-yet-affordable car (C or D-segment) if they want to catch upgrading current owners in markets like India and Brazil or Turkey or Egypt of the Punto or Linea. That way you also get to move the perception of the brand upwards in the wider market.

  3. Why can’t Fiat release proper models rather than utter rubbish like SUVs? Let the Chrysler side take care of SUVs so that Fiat can concentrate on A to C segment cars.

    • That’s what Chrysler just did: the 500X is based on the Jeep Renegade, which is the result of Jeep dna, the best SUVs on earth.

      • No, the 500X should not have been built at all, since that’s a segment the Jeep Renegade (which is actually based on a Fiat platform – it’s not vice versa) should take care of. Instead of the 500X SUV, Fiat should have launched a Punto replacement.

      • @ Q….they should not do a 500X?
        You crazy? Do you know how many pieces of punto they sell every year? Do you know how many of 500X they want to sell and they will trust me, this car gonna be a MUST.
        First of all making a new car cost alot, and the punto is giving back more or less 50 euro each, a 500X more…
        B-suv are increasing all around the world, b sedan/Hatch no!
        500X will be a 500 for all world, for china and USA the small 500 is not enough..
        How can just a car (renegade) cover all market?do not you agree with “same platform different costumers”?
        And there is a book to write why 500X is the perfect car for Fiat right now!!

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