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Long wait for Fiat 500

Bambino: Fiat's 500 makes a splash at the Melbourne show.

Italian transport strike and limited supply push the Fiat 500 wait out to seven months

6 Mar 2008

FIAT’S pint-sized 500 was a massive drawcard to the Melbourne International Motor Show last week, but visitors who placed an order were in for a rude shock: half of this year’s allocation of 1000 cars has been pre-sold, forcing waiting times (as at last week) out to around September.

“I wish we had more,” said general manager of Fiat Cars in Australia David Stone.

“We’re at about 100 a month – we’re fighting (for more) but we’re fighting with the rest of the world to be able to get these cars. The car is an enormous hit in Europe and we’re... fighting to be able to secure as much allocation as we can.” Supply is expected to free up next year, when high-performance Abarth versions of the 500, and the Fiat Punto, are also due. A convertible version of the 500 is expected in 2009. If demand for the standard 500 was limitless, Mr Stone said he could sell “many, many, many thousands”.

Italian import woes

A NATIONAL transport strike in Italy earlier this year has added to Fiat’s supply problems, causing sales delays as orders of the Fiat 500 and Ritmo were “spread over a couple of months”.

As Maserati and Ferrari cars are imported in containers instead of roll-on, roll-off ships, they were not affected by the strike.

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