They say that every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings. Similarly, every time someone buys an electric Fiat 500e, Sergio Marchionne loses $14,000.
That's what Marchionne, the Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles CEO famous for his off-the-cuff remarks, said this morning on a panel about the after-effects of the bailout at the Brookings Institution in Washington.
It's not often the CEO of an automaker tells you he'd rather you not buy one of his cars.
"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.
The 500e is fun, tossable and torque-y, and it gets the electric equivalent of 116 MPG. Unfortunately, Fiat-Chrysler takes a bath on every one they sell. Last year Marchionne said they will lose $10,000 on every 500e sold, making it hard to do on a large scale. "Industrial masochism" is the term he used then. This guy!
It's not clear why the losses have increased by $4,000 since then, but production costs for the 500e remain quite high for Fiat-Chrysler. The car is sold for $32,300 before incentives, and can be leased for just $199 a month.
Luckily, the losses shouldn't be too substantial. You can only buy a 500e in California at the moment, and that's largely because of the state's zero emission vehicle mandate.
Well, now we know how to bankrupt Fiat-Chrysler if we have to: We all go to California and buy 500e's. Good to know, I guess.