is not a luxury brand in Europe and South America where its vehicles are primarily sold. And neither has MINI
been a luxury brand. But just as MINI has created a small-car premium category that has attracted many luxury car owners, Fiat is hoping to draw the same customers with its 500 model, which will go on sale in the U.S. starting in January.
The 500 has been on display at previous U.S. auto shows, but it was in Los Angeles, that the automaker unveiled the final version. It is slightly different than the model Fiat already sells in Europe, with changes made to the front end and rear-end to comply with U.S. safety standards.
With a starting price of $15,500, the 500 can hardly be called "luxe." But the car, which will go on sale in about 130 Chrysler Group LLC dealerships across the country, is only about $500 less to start than the BMW Mini Cooper.
But just as options and accessorizing can drive a MINI Cooper price up well above $20,000, even close to $30,000, Fiat is hoping the 500 has cachet enough to attract people who will pay up to personalize it.
Pricing for the 500 starts at $15,500 for the base model, which is referred to as the Fiat 500 Pop. The 500 Sport is priced at $17,500 and the top-shelf 500 Lounge will cost you $19,500.