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Fiat To Emphasize Natural Gas for U.S. Market

Breaking News

Fiat Multipla cutaway
In brief: With the competition pushing electrification in the North American markets, Fiat plans to dive in focused on natural gas - an Italian specialty.

The word

Fiat Multipla cutaway

Fiat's Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat and Chrysler Group, says the company plans to promote natural gas because it's both cheaper and has fewer obstacles than do electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt.

Fiat is Europe's market leader in NG engines, selling about 80% of methane-powered cars and 55% of light commercial NG vehicles. The U.S. is currently the world's largest producer of natural gas. Marchionne sees this is as an obvious match made in heaven.

Fiat further points to the economics of engine making. A natural gas engine requires about $3,000 in additional costs to produce, whereas diesel costs $3,300 and hybrids $8,000 when compared to standard gasoline blocks.

On the retail side, Fiat's only competition is Honda, since GM only sells NG vehicles to fleets.

And so ...

Fiat will introduce the gasoline-powered, compact 500 next year with sales goals of 50,000 units for 2011.

Photo credits: Fiat

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