Fiat is planning a $199 lease deal for its new 500e.
Fiat will rely on bargain-basement lease deals to help move its new 500e pure electric, the Italian automaker revealed on Monday.
Electric vehicles have been met with lukewarm sales, but Fiat is hoping to entice the market with a $199 per month lease deal - with $999 down - for its 500e, matching lease prices for the gas-only version version of the small hatchback. Both leases are for 36 months.
The 500e, which will initially be offered in California, will hit the market this summer with an MSRP of $32,500, versus $16,000 for the base 500 Pop gas model.
Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has previously stated that Fiat would lose money on every 500e sold, but hailed the car as a "technology statement" for the company. The 500e will also put Fiat in compliance with California's Zero-Emissions-Vehicle mandate.
Fiat is anticipating limited sales for the 500e - even with planned lease deals - so the Italian automaker has devised a new selling scheme for dealers. Instead of keeping several units of the 500e in stock, Fiat will hold the electric hatchback at two distribution points located in California. Once a sales in made, Fiat will ship the 500e to one of its 25 dealerships located throughout the Golden State.
"The dealers don't want to stock a large number of $32,000 cars because it jams up their floorplan and it cuts down on the other cars that they can stock," Tim Kuniskis, head of the Fiat brand in North America, told Automotive News. "So they're going to stock two or three at their dealerships for test drives, and we're going to keep all of the inventory in distribution centers."
Fiat's distribution centers will be located in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Fiat plans to eventually offer the 500e outside of California, but not timeframe for nationwide sales has been given.