A Fiat 500X and 500L combined could make a ‘500XL’
Is the Fiat 500XL a good idea? Combining the slow selling Fiat 500X and Fiat 500L might help the brand. They have hinted about major changes for a while, but nothing official has been announced yet.
In the United States, the Fiat 500X and Fiat 500L sold just over 400 units in the first quarter of this year. Granted, the COVID-19 crisis isn’t helping sale (for anyone), but the numbers looked bleak before. The Fiat 500L sold less than 800 units in North America in 2019. Tripling the sales of the 500L, the Fiat 500X sold over 2,500 units in North America in 2019. Better, but not exactly stellar results.
The Fiat 500X and Fiat 500L need a change
We like the Fiat 500X, especially compared to the 500L. The 500X has a capable AWD system that we tested in severe conditions several times. It’s an altogether better driving vehicle than the 500L and it’s better looking – by far. Still, the 500L has a well appointed, even stylish interior and it will never be confused for any other vehicle – on the entire plant.
It’s kind of a shame that the quality/reliability issues have plagued the brand. Fiat’s are (usually) fun to drive and have lots of personality. The now discontinued (in our market) regular Fiat 500 wasn’t too shabby with its reliability either. Unfortunately, the 500L is on the bottom of many reliability indexes.
Is there still potential in the Fiat 500 siblings?
Olivier François, global Fiat brand president and FCA Group’s Chief Marketing Officer recently told Auto Express, “The 500X injects appeal into the equation. We need to think of the next generation with the same approach to the consumer that makes a lot of sense in an all-electric version, with a body that is obviously more relevant and in fashion. We’re thinking maybe a blend of the X and L is the way ahead, at the end of the day. But it is not for the near future – and when I say near, I mean not by the end of this year, for sure (emphasis added).”
Combining the names could create the “XL” – which sounds better than “LX” for a Fiat product. At least it does to us.
It wouldn’t be the first time FCA has combined two similar vehicles into one. They were fairly successful effectively rolling the Jeep Patriot and Compass into one vehicle. In the end, FCA went forward with the redesigned Jeep Compass in 2017. That seems to have worked well for them, but that’s Jeep – not Fiat. Even before coronavirus racked auto sales Fiat was not a hot seller in the U.S., so there’s no saying whether this strategy would reverse its fortunes, if it actually happens.
Many things have to happen before something like this rolls out. Between the current crisis, Fiat’s pending merger with PSA and a ton of staffing changes, the idea of a Fiat 500XL may be a few years off. If it happens at all. Still, they desperately need new and exciting products here. On that basis, perhaps the possible Fiat 500XL is worth a speedy release?
Let us know what you think in the comments below and check out our latest review on the Fiat 500X below. More is coming very soon!