Slow sales by Fiat are causing layoffs for workers in Chrysler's Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance Plant in Dundee, Mich., responsible for building the 1.4-liter FIRE engine used in the 500.
The actual numbers behind the layoffs are, however, in dispute. Tom Zimmerman, the plant's unit chairman for UAW Local 723, said in an interview with Automotive News that more than 25 percent of the plant's 400 hourly workers were laid off.
Jodi Tinson, a Chrysler spokesperson, said that only 30 people had actually been laid off, and that another 35 were assigned different jobs in the plant.
Regardless of which figure is accurate, there is no denying that Fiat sales failed to meet expectations in the U.S. The company originally projected 50,000 units annually, but had sold less than 32 percent of that by October 31.
Chrysler will unveil the North American version of the Fiat 500 Abarth at this week's Los Angeles Auto Show, featuring a 160-hp turbocharged version of the 1.4-liter engine.
More: Fiat 500's Slow Sales Leads To Chrysler Worker Layoffs on Autoguide.com