DETROIT -- Fiat is offering a $199 a month lease and cut-rate financing on the Fiat 500 coupe.
The offer, along with a long-awaited TV ad campaign due to air soon, is designed to build awareness of the Italian brand, which was reintroduced to the United States in March after a nearly three-decade absence.
Dealers have been happy with initial sales of the 500 but say they need more ad support to sustain long-term growth of the brand.
The dealers say Fiat will spend millions on cable TV commercials where dealerships are open. Fiat ran a print ad spread in the July 4 issue of the USA Today newspaper.
The lease term is 39 months with $1,999 due at signing. For customers who prefer to buy the 500 coupe, Fiat is offering a choice of financing packages: 1.9 percent financing for 36 months, 2.9 for 48 months, 3.9 for 60 months and 5.9 for 72 months.
The $199 lease offer is for an entry-level Pop model with a five-speed manual transmission. The Pop’s base sticker is $15,995, including shipping.
In other offers, monthly lease payments go up on other 500 coupe models: Pop with a six speed automatic, $219; Sport model with manual, $239; Sport model with automatic, $259; and Lounge model, $279. All Lounge models come with automatics.
Fiat’s other model, the Fiat 500C convertible, is not included in the offer. The 500C has been the hottest vehicle on Fiat dealer lots since it was introduced in May.
The offers are the first such incentives that the brand has offered.
Fiat has been slowly ratcheting up its advertising presence, and dealers have been eagerly awaiting a national TV ad campaign.
Fiat has been behind schedule in getting its dealer network up and running. As of this week, 93 of the planned 130 dealerships were open. Fiat says the rest will be open by year end.