Fiat is targeting U.S. sales at 45,000 in 2012. That seems like a lofty goal considering Fiat's U.S. history and reputation for quality is far from stellar.
But it is not an impossible goal if the car makes a good first impression with journalists and buyers. It has to be a winner from Day 1. This is the Fiat brand's second chance in this country.
Specifically, fit-and-finish, ride, handling, comfort have to be exceptional. The car has to have a solid feel.
Under the hood, there needs to be a powerful yet economical engine that contributes to that fun-to-drive feeling.
I expect reviews for the 500 will appear in the next several weeks. We'll know fairly soon whether the Fiat 500 has the potential to be a winner.