Guide to Fiat in South Africa

One can be forgiven for thinking Fiat is a small car company producing compact vehicles for the budget segment. But, dig a little deeper, and you’ll find that Fiat is an automotive giant.

This is made possible through collaborations with various car companies they own and partner with. Fiat Group currently has full ownership of Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, and Maserati, and have a 50% stake in the CJD Group consisting of Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge. They also partnered with Mitsubishi to produce their Fiat Fullback bakkie.


A Brief History of Fiat

Fiat was founded on 11 July 1899 by several people, the most prolific being Giovanni Agnelli, a wealthy Italian industrialist. In 1908, the Fiat Automobile Company in the US opened with resounding success. At that time in America, Fiats were luxury cars, much more expensive than other comparable vehicles.

In 1922, Fiat opened their famous Lingotto factory, which was the largest automotive manufacturing plant in Europe. As car ownership in Italy grew, so did Fiat, opening several more factories around the country.

In 2014, Fiat acquired ownership of the Chrysler Group, and today, the Fiat Chrysler Automobile Group employs nearly 236,000 people in 140 countries.

Red classic Fiat, parked side view shot with a golden sunny glow.
Smiling woman, wearing a white top

Buying a Fiat

Fiat has a range of six models with varying specification levels for each. From a nippy hatchback to the powerful Fullback, Fiat caters for an array of vehicle needs.

Current range of Fiat models in South Africa:

Model

Category

500

Hatchback

500 X

Hatchback/Crossover

Panda

Hatchback/Crossover

Fullback

Bakkie

Tipo

Sedan/Hatchback

Abarth 595

Hatchback

124

Cabriolet

 

Fiat also boasts 16 dealership networks across the country, with multiple service centres. However, one of the potential pitfalls of owning a Fiat in South Africa is the periodic unavailability of parts. Fiat only holds a select number of parts in SA, ordering what they don’t keep from international stockists. Parts ordered internationally could be quite costly and waiting periods relatively long.

The Popular Fiat 500

The most popular Fiat is by far the 500, according to the NAAMSA Report. Due to its stylish design, driving finesse, and affordability, Fiat 500 models are quite popular amongst those looking for something unique in the hatchback segment. It’s quirky and nippy and has been an icon in the automotive world for years.

Starting at R201,900, the Fiat 500 Pop is certainly priced above its competition. The 0.9 TwinAir petrol engine delivers 62.5 kW and 145 Nm of torque, while producing 90g/km, and has a combined fuel consumption cycle of 4.6 litre/100 km.

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Parked pink Fiat 500, front view, on the grass with trees in the background.
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Fiat Safety and Insurance

Depending on the Fiat model, car insurance premiums can be quite low. Certain cars, such as the 500, Tipo, and Panda models have low-risk insurance profiles, so cover tends to be more affordable. However, the Fiat 124 Spider and Abarth models, considered as sports cars, would lead to higher car insurance premiums.

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Renting a Fiat

Many car rental agencies will stock the 500 and Panda models. If you’re keen on a budget segment hire car to zip around in, Fiat is one of your best bets.

Looking to buy another brand of vehicle? For information on other South African car manufacturers, visit our car buyers’ guide.

Red Fiat 500 facing a  white door of a closed garage

Prices quoted are correct at the time of publishing this article. The information in this article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial, legal, or medical advice.