The Italian multinational car maker Fiat aims to shake up the U.S. auto market with its new compact crossover, the 500X, which made its North American debut this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
The compact SUV has four doors and more leg room for back seat passengers than the small 500 hatchback, a design meant to lure consumers away from Nissan’s Juke, Kia Soul, and GM’s new Chevrolet Trax, according to a report by Bloomberg News.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCA)—Fiat S.p.A. merged into FCA on August 1, 2014—is relying on the success of the 500X to help meet its goal of doubling the car maker’s sales in North America to 100,000 automobiles by 2018. This comes after disappointing U.S. sales of Fiat’s 500 hatchback, which fell six percent this year following the debut of the roomier 500L wagon.
“The 500X will give us a sense of how real they’ll be in the U.S. as it has the size and utility to be a volume seller,” said Alec Gutierrez, an analyst with automotive researcher Kelley Blue Book, in the Bloomberg News report. “It will take clever advertising and word of mouth to get Fiat on the radar in the U.S.”
And clever advertising is exactly what Fiat is using. In a comic online ad, the company compares the 500X to a Viagra-like blue pill with special beefing up, invigorating powers.
As an over-the-hill Italian lover tries to pop a little blue pill into his mouth, he misses, sending it flying out the window and through the village, where it finally drops into the gas tank of a 500 hatchback. Lo and behold, the hatchback is magically transformed into the new, larger 500X.
“The 500X is a blue pill to wake up the boring U.S. market,” said Olivier Francois, head of marketing at London-based FCA.
The 500X and the Jeep Renegade are built at the same factory in southern Italy and share some 40 percent of their parts.