The Fiat 500e may be a technological showcase for the brand but it is also a money-losing machine according to company CEO Sergio Marchionne
The outspoken Fiat Chrysler Automobiles chief has gone as far as to discourage prospective buyers from purchasing the electric city car - which is currently only sold in California and is priced at US$32,300 ($35,000) before incentives - because each car loses the company about $14,000.
In 2013, Marchionne told media that each Fiat 500e sold would lose money - at the time he put the figure at $10,000 per car, something that he described as a form of "industrial masochism". However, the pain appears to be harder to handle now than it was in 2013, as Marchionne recently announced his five-year vision for the company and electric cars didn't form a major part of it.
"If you are considering buying a 500e, I hope you don't buy it, because every time I sell one it costs me $14,000," Marchionne said at a discussion of the US debt bail-out at the Brookings Institution in Washington.
"I will sell the (minimum) of what I need to sell and not one more," he said. "If we just build those vehicles, we'll be back asking ... in Washington for a second bailout because we'll be bankrupt."
Fiat completed a buyout of the US brand earlier this year, forming the new company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles after Chrysler went bankrupt in 2009 and was later bailed out by the US government.