The honeymoon’s over for some of the Fiat faithful..
Those being the 500 enthusiasts who signed on to become owners of the first new Fiats sold in this country in 28 years. Like me, buyers plunked down $500 deposits last summer and fall – sight unseen, price and options unknown – for a special numbered edition Fiat 500 called the Prima Edizione.
At that tender stage, there were no Fiat dealers. They would be courted and signed 2 months later.
Fast forward to three weeks back when the eight Prima Edizione Fiat 500s arrived at a local rail head for delivery to KC area buyers .
There they remain – in automotive limbo – delivery dates unknown.
"It’s a mess," grouses Prima No. 446 buyer Jeff on a Fiat 500 blog site.
"Nobody could have imagined our cars ready and near our homes – within a couple hundred miles – (then) waiting weeks for delivery. This is not a production problem," says Prima buyer Mike S. "It would be much easier to take if Fiat told us what is going wrong. This is like a bad divorce."
"No question, it is not going great," Prima buyer Sam says. "With this many unhappy people, there is an undeniable problem."
Fiat 500 USA site owner Chris explains it all away like this:
I have alluded to this in other threads, but I want to post it here, so folks that are waiting and wondering what’s going on will know the latest," he writes. "For the Prima owners that are still waiting, the main hold up is that some dealers are waiting for their state licenses. Now, many of these should be arriving shortly, but until then, Fiat cannot legally send cars to dealers without this license."
None of those reasons/excuses do Prima posters find to their liking….
"Fiat called all of us and said it would be 14 to 17 days for delivery! now its been over 3 weeks!!!!" says Prima No. 80 buyer Bill. "And i am pissed !!! Because they can’t even tell us when the cars will be handed out!! They knew these problems when they called!!!! But choose to give us bad info! …And that is why everyone is upset!…I want some type of compensation!! Our local here in milwaukee is selling cars to any Joe off the street!! I order 8 months ago and was told i would be (one of) the first 500 to get one! And now they can’t even tell me when i can pick it up !!! SHITTY SHITTY SHITTY !!"
"They also said we would be the first 500 Fiat 500 owners in the US…that is far from true at this point," says Prima buyer Gavin. "My car is traveling further and further from me as I type and people are buying non Prima 500s from multiple dealers at this point…even the dealer my car is heading too has sold non Prima cars. I have no thoughts of suing or anything remotely like that…but Fiat clearly dropped the ball with Prima deliveries…and Fiat clearly said the Primas would be first, and that is not happening."
Which brings us to rumors of technical glitches in need of fixing holding up the delivery of some Primas.
"Well, our car – along with seven other Primas -has been sitting at the dealer for over a week, been PDI’d," says Prima buyer SeattleCar. "They got their license on Monday, but still ‘can’t’ sell us our car because of ‘software upgrades’ or some other such nonsense. SUCKS!"
"Same story with my car about software and a bad module of some sort," adds Prima buyer Thad.
Then there is the unhappy matter of the limited edition collector cars being trapped in freight yards waiting to be released.
"Cars sitting for 3 weeks at shipping yards getting bumped into, scratched, sunbaked," grouses Prima No. 23 buyer fredfrey. "Massive confusion. We’re only talking about 500 or so cars! FIAT wants to sell 50,000 a year? Good luck with that."
"Someone picked up his Prima Edizione here in So Cal, and realized the shift boot trim wasn’t clicked in properly. AC vent wasn’t installed correctly," posts Prima buyer 5*(10)^2. "And also, last Sun, when I saw my PE, a corner of the rear boot trim was damaged. I notified the dealer but I doubt they are replacing that yet."
The bottom line on the chaotic launch of Fiat’s Prima Ediziones to what the company describes as its most loyal, enthusiastic supporters:
"I guess, for me…what is confusing is just how ‘confused’ Fiat themselves have been," Gavin says. "They themselves told me a dealer…had everything worked out…lots of great communication….9 days later Fiat tells me a different dealer…gah…but I call that dealer…dealer doesn’t want my Prima…so I get a different dealer…but now Fiat is telling me that my car is going to the dealer who doesn’t want my Prima – too far at 1000 miles from me But PaulL says the car is going to a different dealer than that one….In the meantime Fiat is selling cars to all kinds of people -Prima people, non Prima people -.it seems I could have gotten a 500 faster by not being an early deposit holder…sigh…
"It is a bit of madness right now…which generally I like a bit of madness…but not usually with my big ticket purchases 🙂 It will likely all work out in the end…but I don’t really know…"