Fiat Chrysler CEO Marchionne Tells People Don't Purchase Fiat 500e

May 23, 2014 04:13 PM EDT | Matt Mercuro

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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne said this week he doesn't want potential buyers to purchase the Fiat 500e electric vehicle because it costs him too much money.

"I hope you don't buy it because every time I sell one it costs me $14,000," he said to the audience at the Brookings Institution about the 500e, according to Reuters. "I'm honest enough to tell you that."

The CEO added he hoped to sell the minimum amount of 500e vehicles as possible this year.

During a conference in Washington on May 21, Marchionne said Tesla Motors is the only company currently making a profit on electric vehicles.

The gasoline-powered Fiat 500 is sold for $17,300, including shipping fees, while the 500e is sold for a base price of $32,650, before federal tax credit.

Consumers don't want to pay a price that covers Fiat's costs so it loses money on the 500e, according to the CEO.

Through last month, Fiat Chrysler sold approximately 11,514 of the 500 vehicles in the U.S., which is down 15 percent from the same point in 2013.

"I will sell the (minimum) of what I need to sell and not one more," Marchionne said of the 500e.

Chrysler filed for bankruptcy back in 2009, and received a U.S taxpayer-funded bailout. Italy's Fiat took over the U.S. automaker at that time and completed the buyout earlier this year.

"If we just build those vehicles, we'll be back asking ... in Washington for a second bailout because we'll be bankrupt," Marchionne said of electric cars.

Electric vehicle sales have been lackluster due to inadequate driving range in the eyes of many drivers and high prices.

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