Chrysler Admits: Electric Fiat 500 Is Compliance Car We Don't Want To Make

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2012 Fiat 500 Electric/Elettra

2012 Fiat 500 Electric/Elettra

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Three weeks ago, we listed five upcoming electric cars that we felt were strictly "compliance cars"--or vehicles carmakers offer not because they want to, but because they must do so to comply with California zero-emission vehicle rules.

Now Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has admitted that his company's upcoming electric Fiat 500 conversion is just that: a compliance car.

In a collection of interviews last week, summarized in AutoWeek magazine, he said the company was building the car solely to comply with requirements in California and the other states that have adopted its more stringent emissions rules.

And, he added almost as an afterthought, to familiarize Chrysler-Fiat's engineers with electric powertrains.

Marchionne's views on electric cars have been clear for quite a while.

He reiterated them to Automobile magazine, when asked about putting electric cars into production:

I'm not scared, I just won't do it. I just will not do it. I think we're smoking illegal materials if we think we're going to make those [profitably]. It just won't work.

And there you have it.

At least he's consistent, since Chrysler admitted more than a year ago that it would lose $10,000 or more on every Fiat 500 Electric that it sells.

We must admit, we like Marchionne's honesty.

We'd much rather know where he stands than suffer the protestations of another carmaker that touts an upcoming electric vehicle as proof of its green credibility while declining to respond to even simple questions about the car.

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