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Going, Going, Gone: Chrysler Holds Abarth Orders

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On: Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 12:09PM | By: Chris Salamone

Going, Going, Gone: Chrysler Holds Abarth Orders

Since last month, when the Fiat 500 Abarth first arrived in US dealerships, buyers have only continued to line up. And as of yesterday, supply and demand reached some kind of tipping point. The Detroit News reports that Chrysler Group LLC asked dealers to discontinue taking 2012 Fiat Abarth orders.

Walking a quick eBay stroll, 2012 Abarths can still be found at showrooms around the county. But buyers who aren’t nearby currently available 2012 models will have to wait until the 2013 Fiat 500 Abarth surfaces. In other words, customers can no longer place an order for the 2012 Abarth, but are instead required to take small comfort in Chrysler’s 2013 model waitlist and an optimistic delivery this Fall.

While impressive that the Fiat 500 Abarth would sell more strongly than expected, we aren’t talking about a massive number vehicles here. Before going on sale in April, Fiat had cash deposits for more than the total number of initially planned sales for the entire year – just over 1,000 depositors. Then the company tripled production to 3,000 units, a number which took their Foluca, Mexico factory to capacity.

Jump started by a cheeky, sensuous advertising campaign and loads of positive media feedback, 3,000 2012 Abarth units just weren’t enough to quench customer demand. And the Abarth’s appeal goes beyond critical acclaim; this is a vehicle which offers oodles of fun in a tight package.

The 2012 model finds 160 horses and 170 lb-ft of torque in a 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbocharged Engine. Twin intercoolers and a performance-tuned suspension plus beefed up brake system synch together with the vehicle’s sporty aesthetics. In sight, sound, and feeling, the Abarth cannot be confused with a traditional Fiat 500.

“Dealer orders for the Abarth, the ultimate high-performance small car, exceeded the production run of this model for the 2012 model year,” Chrysler stated to The Detroit News. Fiat total US sales also jumped a titanic 432 percent in the last month.

While it’s not surprising to see 3,000 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth models sell at warp speed, we are surprised that Chrysler would limit production to such a modest sum. Even the Chevy Volt projected more liberal growth. And dealers will no doubt use this Abarth scarcity as a ‘local price adjustment’ to ramp up profits.

But perhaps that’s the dark secret of new car sales: we always want what we can’t have – a fitting slogan for a car billed along with Romanian supermodel Catrinel Menghia.


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