Fiat began in 1899 and is one of the oldest automakers in the world. Fiat SpA is one of the largest automobile manufacturers in the world, owning many automotive brands including Chrysler, Jeep, Maserati, and many others. FIAT stands for Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino.
Fiat is also one of the oldest makes in the United States, having opened its doors in 1908 in New York. Until the 1980s, it was a popular brand selling many now-collectible models with a high sales mark of over 100,000 vehicles in 1975. Although the company left in 1983, it returned when Fiat purchased Chrysler out of bankruptcy in 2009 and began bringing the 500-series into the U.S. once again.
The Fiat 500 has a distinctive Italian style and appeal and is a popular city car with a growing fan base in the United States. Fiat now builds them in its Mexican plant alongside Dodge vehicles and recently introduced the 500L, a four-door compact family MPV which has seen fast sales growth since its introduction in 2013.
Both vehicles utilize the same engine, transmission and other components and have similar styling characteristics. The Fiat 500 is know for its unique style, sporty characteristics, and is popular in its factory-tuned sports edition, the 500 Abarth model. The car is often seen on the used market and is highly prized as a sporty but useful city car.
The larger Fiat 500L is seen occasionally in the used market, but is still new to the U.S. and as a result, is not yet a common used car commodity. It's beloved for its style, uniquely European appeal, and fun driving characteristics along with its high versatility for a compact vehicle. New car sales are brisk, promising a robust used car market in a few years.