Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Cindy asks: I really like the Fiat 500; it’s cute and inexpensive but I’m worried about whether there will be a Fiat to service the car. What are your thoughts on this?
My reply: Fiat isn’t doing well, probably because the market for small cars is . . . small. And mostly occupied territory. BMW’s Mini brand ate up a lot of the market that existed; other established brands chewed into the rest.
The 500 – and the rest of Fiat’s lineup – is also getting long in the tooth. No major updates in several years. But – in my opinion – this isn’t a bad thing. Unless you want some of the new things many of the latest new cars come with, such as Automated Stop/Start (ASS) and the various “assists” that are becoming hard to avoid.
There is another good reason to buy a Fiat: The Fiat dealer will likely be eager to deal. Odds are you’ll be able to buy a new Fiat for the price of a used Mini or similar other-brand small car.
Don’t worry about Fiat – the company – going away. It probably won’t – because of the Chrysler side of the business and even if it does, the parts needed to service and repair these cars should be readily available for many years to come.
If you can wrangle a really good deal on a new 500, I say go for it. These are fun little cars that get good gas mileage and have surprisingly roomy interiors (even the back seat). They’re actually more practical than many much larger (and much more expensive) cars.
Keep us posted!
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Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!
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