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The cheeky Fiat 500 says ‘arrivederci!’ as it sails into retirement

2019 Fiat 500 Abarth
Bradley Iger/FCA

Act fast if you want to put a new Fiat 500 in your garage. All variants of the pocket-sized city car will retire after the 2019 model year, according to a recent report, and the company’s successor isn’t guaranteed to be sold in America.

Being cute as a button isn’t enough to lure buyers into showrooms. While 500 production will continue in Europe, Autoblog learned the model is getting ready to leave the Fiat catalog in the United States. The decision applies to every version of the model, ranging from the entry-level hatchback to the upmarket 500C quasi-convertible. The electric 500E and the performance-oriented Abarth model — a seriously quick hot hatch Digital Trends loved — are leaving, too.

Americans didn’t like the 500 as much as Europeans, but the cheeky, retro-inspired hatchback surprisingly outsold the other models in Fiat’s portfolio. 1,692 units found a home during the first six months of 2019, a figure which represents a 25% drop compared to 2018. And yet, it was more popular than the 500L, the 500X, and the 124 Spider, which logged 399, 1,484, and 1,528 sales, respectively, during the same period of time. Age might have driven the final nail in the 500’s coffin; it disembarked on our shores during the 2012 model year, but it has been on sale in Europe since 2007, and its underpinnings are even older.

Fiat’s American dealers still have many 2019 examples sitting on their lots. Sales will continue until supplies run out, which will likely happen in early 2020, so buyers who want to get their hands on one of the last new 500s made for the United States still have a few months left to find one. We don’t suggest waiting for the next-generation model, however.

The Italian automaker confirmed it will offer the next 500 exclusively with an electric powertrain. Whether it will be entirely new or a comprehensive update of the current, 12-year-old model is up in the air, but it’s not too far-fetched to assume the Italian company will follow the path blazed by rivals like Honda and keep small, expensive electric cars out of America. Daimler’s Smart brand came to a similar conclusion when it announced plans to leave the United States.

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