DETROIT – Fiat will export its 500 minicar to China from Mexico beginning next year, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said.
“In Mexico, we have installed a 120,000 units a year capacity for the 500, half of which will go to North America, the other half to Brazil and China,” Marchionne said on the sidelines of the Detroit auto show earlier this week.
Laura Soave, CEO of the Fiat brand for North America, said production of the 500 began this month at Chrysler Group's assembly factory in Toluca, Mexico.
The first 1,000 units of the 500 coming off the production line are special edition cars with manual transmissions called Prima Edizione (first edition in Italian) with a batch of 500 to be exported to the United States and another 500 to Canada. All were all sold over the Internet last year in must a matter of hours.
Soave said shipments to the United States of 500s with automatic transmissions will start by the end of February or early March.
The Mexico plant will supply the Brazilian market with manual transmission 500s. Currently Fiat's plant in Tychy, Poland, exports 500s to Brazil. Tychy also builds 500s for the European market.
The 500 was introduced in Europe in 2007 and is the region's second best-selling minicar after the Fiat Panda.