As the Detroit News reports, Chrysler Group LLC has notified Fiat dealers that it will no longer accept wholesale orders for 2012 Abarth models. The 2013 models will begin arriving at Fiat dealers in September, but that’s not soon enough to keep customers with orders (and deposits) in the system happy.
One disappointed buyer placed his order and deposit back in March, and was only just advised that he’ll be waiting another 90 days for a 2013 model. Demand, it seems, far outstripped the build capacity of Chrysler’s Toluca, Mexico manufacturing plant.
In fact, Chrysler had already tripled production of the U.S.-bound 500 Abarth, increasing it from 1,000 units to 3,000 units for 2012 when a surprising number of potential customers put in orders with deposits.
It’s not clear how many 500 Abarths the Toluca plant can produce for the 2013 model year, and Chrysler finds itself walking the fine line between producing just enough inventory and not producing enough.
From our perspective, it’s better to have a few Fiat 500 Abarth models on dealer lots than it is having customers walk away to shop at MINI, Volkswagen, Mazda or Subaru dealers.