MILAN -- Fiat will add a commercial van version of the New 500 full-electric small car, which has fallen short of the brand's sales expectations.
The van will have a cargo divider and no rear seating. It was mentioned in a presentation to suppliers in March as among vehicles to be launched this year by Fiat's parent Stellantis, but has not been previously announced.
A Fiat spokesman confirmed that the commercial version would be built, and the company expects it to sell in low numbers.
Even though it will be a niche product, the van will help to boost sales of the New 500 range.
At the unveiling of the New 500 hatchback in March 2020, Fiat brand CEO Olivier François said 15,000 units were expected to be delivered by the end of 2020, with an eventual annual sales target of 80,000.
Italian unions said that 32,000 New 500s had been built since the start of production. They said the production cadence had been slowed since January and the number of shifts will be cut to one from two starting next week.
Partly because of the pandemic-induced market disruption, only 6,353 units of the New 500 were registered in 2020, according to figures from market researcher JATO Dynamics. JATO estimates that just more than 10,000 New 500s were in Europe from the start of sales last July until the end of February.
A Fiat spokesman said the brand had received 20,000 customer orders for the New 500 from the launch date through mid-April of this year.