Fiat Reportedly Issues “Stop Sell” Order While It Hunts Down Defective 500e Electric Vehicles (UPDATE)

AUG 13 2013 BY JAY COLE 26

Not What You Want To See Under Your New EV - Fiat 500e Axle Issue Arises

Not What You Want To See Under Your New EV – Fiat 500e Axle Issue Arises (via G+ Fiat 500e group)

As reported by both the Fiat 500e forum community and a Google+ group, It appears that Fiat has apparently issued a “stop sell” order on the new Fiat 500e as it searches for 18-odd defective 500e electric cars in need or repairs.

UPDATE:  Chrysler has issued a statement — noted at bottom of article

And it is pretty serious too, as apparently the axle in the car can give way under pressure.  Here is what one owner had to say about the incident:

The Virtually Sold Out 500e Hits A Road Bump In Getting To Customers

The Virtually Sold Out 500e Hits A Road Bump In Getting To Customers

Today I was driving the car down a surface street (non-freeway). I took a normal right hand turn at normal speeds when all of a sudden I hear a very loud grinding noise in front and below where my feet are. The grinding noise continued and I immediately turned into the nearest driveway, which happened to be an abandoned restaurant parking lot, and turned off the car. Lucky for me it was abandoned because my car would be stuck there for a while…

At this point I was blocking the driveway so I wanted to put the car into neutral so I could push it out of the way. I put in the key and it would not let me put it into neutral (which is normal since I didn’t turn the key, the electronic transmission wasn’t on). when I turned the key, though, the car made that loud grinding noise again so I immediately turned it off again and just turned on my hazard lights. Again, I am blocking this driveway but this was an abandoned restaurant parking lot so no biggie.  (I forgot to mention, as soon as the grinding sound started, the display read “propulsion system error!”)

So now at this point I called AAA and was waiting for the tow. I finally had a chance to calm down a bit and tried to survey the damage. The car is pretty low to the ground so I couldn’t get a good vantage point to see the area where I heard the noise. However looking around the ground, I noticed a few bolts and ball bearings laying around  😯 Also I noticed what seemed to be some kind of housing…

AAA guy comes, I tell him what happened. As soon as I mentioned ball bearings, he said it was probably my axle. Sure enough, when lifts my car, he points out to me that the axle came apart completely….I’m anxious to see how long it will take to repair… at this point the tow guy told me to demand that they re-install both axles in the front because something like this could have been very serious.  Also upon inspecting the bolts, he noticed that loctite was only applied to a small portion of the bolt whereas it should have been applied everywhere that the threads would be engaged. He called this a “5PM” job, and the dealership called it a “friday afternoon” job.. essentially chalking it up to workmanship error (people on the shop floor being lazy).

Another commentator went to a dealership in Berkeley, California earlier in the week and confirms the situation:

“I’m at McKevitt now, and the service team was aware of this when I brought it up.  They had a warning from manufacturing before receiving any 500e’s about this possible issue on 18 cars of unknown destinations. The problem occurred in the handoff between the ICE and EV assembly lines. McKevitt has been inspecting their 500e’s since they started getting them for the issue.”

A Fiat 500e Warns "Service Propulsion System" After Axle Issue

A Fiat 500e Warns “Service Propulsion System” After Axle Issue

On owner says that he has since been contact by Chrysler Corporate and has been told the problem will be taken car of, and offered him a rental car in the meantime.

Checking out the thread on the issue, at least two other owners have found their way to the community to comment about a similar being experienced.

“…my car was on day 19, at 600 miles.  I’m surprised some of the dealerships are not taking a more proactive role in calling the 500es back for a safety check, or just the lack of awareness around the issue.  I have not received my diagnosis on what is going on with my car yet, but Khoa’s description matched my experience exactly.  Grinding noise, “propulsion system error!” flashing on the dash, on restart to move car to a more safe location grinding noise again coming from under the car.  I think bringing it in for a check would be a good idea, at least for peace of mind…” – 500e owner Christine Pun

Update – Monday August 12th:


Another Look At The Issue (via G+ Fiat 500e Owner's Group)

Another Look At The Issue (via G+ Fiat 500e Owner’s Group)

“More interesting news… I called in and said “hi I’m the one with the 500e that broke down”. He said “which one?” I thought he was joking but he was not… they have 5 500e’s with the same issue. Apparently the bolts are coming out and they’re not sure why. Engineers from Fiat are on the way to the dealerships to figure it out (their words).

If you are reading this, I would recommend you to stop driving your 500e and take it to the dealership, it is not safe to be driving it around when the bolts may come out… of course I don’t know if each dealership will give everyone a rental for a “just in case” but hopefully Corporate will send out a notice soon enough…”>

Today, Chrysler has issued a statement on the issue and is contact/effecting repairs on aproximately 270 units of the 500e:

<August 14, 2013 , Auburn Hills, Mich. – Chrysler Group has begun contacting approximately 270 owners of model-year 2013 Fiat 500e battery-electric vehicles. A recall is being conducted to replace bolts that secure the vehicles’ half shafts.

The issue is unrelated to the 500e’s electric powertrain. Half shafts transfer torque from a vehicle’s gearbox to its wheels.

An investigation was launched after Chrysler Group learned a customer’s vehicle exhibited power loss. Engineers discovered two assembly steps had not been properly completed; creating a condition that could lead to half shaft separation. Chrysler Group is unaware of any related accidents or injuries.

Approximately 270 retail customers are affected. They are being contacted and will receive free rental vehicles while their vehicles are being repaired.

Repairs will be performed at no charge to customers.

Vehicles on dealer lots also are affected. Chrysler Group will advise the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration when the precise recall population is determined.


Fiat 500 e owners  via 500e Google+ group & Fiat500Owners

Categories: Fiat


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26 Comments on "Fiat Reportedly Issues “Stop Sell” Order While It Hunts Down Defective 500e Electric Vehicles (UPDATE)"

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Very interesting read which prompts another question. Exactly how many went out the door last month? I guess this event will make that number even harder to uncover.

At least they know this is an issue and can fix it, unlike the FFE’s “stop safely now” issues. Fix It Again, Tony…

I don’t think Fiat would ever escape from that phrase.

FIAT is indeed living up to their name.

Fix It Again Tony…


haha told you when i test drove it i turned the corner it was unstable not enough torque steer way too much torque for the little car to handle…. smart is the smart choice over overpriced lying fiat

Are these built here in the US ?

I believe they are built in Mexico.

Well now we know the real reason that Chrysler doesn’t want to build EVs . . . they are too incompetent to build them properly. 😉

so some people on forums are saying they spoke with VP and Execs at Chrysler in Michigan, no such recall or stop sell. Some dealers also saying no such thing.

You have any connections with VPs at Chrysler in Michigan? This is not good.. the handling of the problem… rumours innuendos, but we do know 2 axles or maybe 5 broke down.

The "Jamie" refered to here

@Jay Cole, odd, I don’t see you in our community. (?) You’re welcome to join, but I have to agree with EV Oneday. The G+ 500e Community is just a bunch of drivers doing our best to help each other out. Talking to different people & posting what we hear. I wrote what the service folks at McKevitt told me, as a customer. Who knows where their info originated? But, that’s what I was told. You might want to call around as a reporter and see if anyone “official” can confirm, no? We’d love some more definitive “news.”

To everyone else, there’s a lot more conversation on this in the community, and anyone is welcome to join. Just keep in mind, the purpose of the community is help each other get the most out of our cars (even if it’s less than we expected B^) and let others know what it’s like in the real world. Any posts that don’t fit that purpose will likely be removed.


Hi Jamie,

I joined the community. Can never be a part of enough groups specializing in EVs, (= I have a couple inquiries/emails into Chrysler now looking for a official position. Will certainly update/start a thread on what they get back to us with.

My hope with this post is that anyone who happens to own a early 500e and isn’t aware of the situation will get their cars checked out for safety.

The "Jamie" refered to here.

Thx Jay! All’s swell. We all appreciate you helping get the word out. Totally weird how inconsistent the experiences are around this thing – reading Lynn’s post below. My dealer still hasn’t called me in, and I’m in pretty close touch.

I own a 500e with about 300 miles on it. I stopped at the dealership today (OC Fiat) to ask a question about my access fiat app for my phone and pick up a check.The service director saw my car and came out and told me that they had to keep my car because there had been a recall. They were super nice, got me a free rental and even told me to keep my gas receipts so they could reimburse me. 🙂

Thanks for dropping by and updating us Lynn. Glad to see that they are being proactive – good to see, (=

Interesting they are picking up the tab on your gas burning too!

FYI Fiat still has my car and I still have my rental…No update on what they are going to do with my car or when. I guess the engineers from Detroit were at the dealership to check the cars and then left….

I got my car back from Fiat last week…they paid for the rental and gas! Ask them to pay your lease payment too. I did and they agreed…
I think they did the best job they could in the situation.

Just surrendered my 500E after receiving an email. Service manager @ Santa Monica studio says they are awaiting parts — bolts and washers. No idea on when they will receive them. They provided a rental car, but it’s no fun — a Jetta. I asked, “Are we talking weeks? Or months?” I was told, “Probably not months.” Seems to me they should credit me my lease payments for the time they are holding my car…or extend the lease by that much time at no charge. The rental means nothing to me as I will park it and be driving my 76 Jaguar. Very disappointed that they don’t have a more definitive time line. I am paying for a Fiat and should be driving a Fiat. I think if all of us affected start calling daily to Fiat’s Customer Service Team: 800-763-8422 we might get faster results. My reps there are Penny and Tammy. They don’t seem to know any more than the Service Manager. But if we call them everyday, I promise you they will put pressure on the higher ups to get the job done!

I dropped my car off on the 19th. I tried asking questions, but it appears nobody knows anything. Or they aren’t saying. I asked for at least a general idea of how long this would take, but couldn’t get an answer at all. The service guy told me they were just told to take the cars in and wait for further instruction. My case manager told me she’d give me updates weekly. Weekly? Really? That indicates to me that it will probably be at least a couple of weeks if not longer. The not knowing is the most frustrating! They said nothing about keeping my gas receipts, but you can bet I will be calling and not paying for gas. Also, I agree with Danny. Shouldn’t we get at least a pro-rated discount on our lease for all the days we are without our cars?

I had my 500e for about a week and was called by the service manager at my dealer to bring it in immediately, or they could arrange a tow if we were too scared to drive it in. The next day I dropped it off and got a lousy Dodge Dart rental car. Wasn’t told to save the gas receipts, but I sure will! Nobody seems to know what the fix will be. It’s been 6 days now. I called the dealer, and was told it could take as long as 60 days. Yikes! I’ve also called corporate and will continue to do so. We were having so much fun. I don’t want to be leasing a Dodge Dart!

Doesn’t any one read these reviews, As soon as I saw Fiat was coming back, I wrote to facebook about my many problems with Fiat, I bought a brand new Fiat and starting 2 weeks later my ordeal started. This was before Fiat went out of business. My car only ran behind the tow truck. This was every two weeks , no more than 1 month until the warranty was up the last time they towed it in and I went to pick it up they charged me $700.00 and said the warranty was up on it, I was very irritated since they had the car more than I did I took the car right to another dealership and traded it on a different one, They went to start the car to move it into the garage and it wouldn’t start for them either. I went home and wrote Fiat an angry letter. In about l week I recieved a check for the full amount- with no sorry-nothing but a check They never offered me a car while they worked on mine or for all the lost wages, This was the worst thing that ever happened to me and the… Read more »

I got my car back from Fiat last week…they paid for the rental and gas! Ask them to pay your lease payment too. I did and they agreed…
I think they did the best job they could in the situation.

Got the “propulsion system failure” warning this afternoon after experiencing a sudden jarring at the front of my 500e when slowing down just around the corner from my house after getting off the freeway! Called Fiat and they arranged to have my car picked up by a tow company for the trip to Fiat of Fresno in the morning. Had an appointment for this Wednesday and I was told that they have the parts in stock so I jope to have it back sometime next week!

My new 500e died on the freeway today at about 600 miles. Sudden loss of power and the same “propulsion system failure”. The dealer seems clueless so far and no tow hook for the tow truck. Also, if anyone is experiencing a metallic rattle or scraping sound it turns out to be the rotor guard not being installed properly. So, in for service twice in two weeks! WTF!!

2015 Fiat 500e under lease and the driver’s side inner cv joint bolts backed out. 1 bolt completely missing, 1 mostly backed out, another partially, the rest loose. One strap has an ear broken. I guess Fiat still doesn’t know how to assemble these.

Dealer is too busy to get us in any sooner than 2.5 weeks from now.