The Award No One Wants

The Least Popular Car in America Is Secretly One of the Best


May 14, 2019 Cars By Photo by Andrew Connor

It doesn’t take NASA’s finest to figure out the most popular vehicle in America. Year after year, the Ford F-150 takes the “Best Seller” accolade, but even if you were to flat-out guess “American pickup truck,” you’d still cover the top three. The owner of the “least popular car” crown? That belongs to the Fiat 124 Spider, which is a damn shame because it’s secretly one of the best cars currently on the road.

According to a report by The Detroit News, the Fiat 124 Spider lands on the list of least popular cars in America along with the Fiat 500L and 500x, Dodge Viper and Corvette. The list is based on the backlogs of each car or the stockpile of each model dealerships can’t seem to offload. In regards to the 124 Spider, that means a 461-day surplus. For perspective, on average, dealerships plan for a 60-day supply of any given car.

Fiat’s stateside comeback isn’t the most stellar, despite having the entire Chrysler dealer network, including both Dodge and Jeep stores, at its disposal. So it’s likely an image problem since the Mazda MX-5 (upon which the 124 Spider is based) has retained its iconic handling, reputation and popularity since the 124 came about.

The two roadsters have their unique personalities, for sure, even though the two cars share the same Mazda assembly line in Hiroshima, Japan. The 124 weighs slightly more than the MX-5 but packs more torque from its turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine to compensate. Even though the 124 carries a somewhat softer suspension, there’s not a canyon of differences between the ways the two cars handle. Is it the Spider’s looks? Or do the American people just not trust the Fiat name? It could be the latter, seeing as how there are two other Fiats on the list, making six FCA cars some of the least popular cars in the country.

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