Ahead of Fiat’s 5-year plan presentations, Automotive News [sub] is reporting that the Turin-based firm is developing a four-door version of its 500 subcompact. And not just to take on Europe’s Opel Meriva and company: the 500 Multipla will be then fourth and final member of the US-market 500 family.
North American 500 production begins in Toluca, Mexico in the fourth quarter of this year, so good luck trying to get one for Christmas this year. Chrysler still hasn’t decided “how many” of its dealers will carry the ‘lil fashion nugget in any case, let alone what they’ll be charging. Here’s a hint on that last point: Chrysler recently dropped off a 500 in front of a tony Italian boutique in Detroit’s Birmingham suburb, and let the cameras roll as wealthy folks clucked about just having to have one of their own. Weirdly, (and InsideLine is my witness) Chrysler has since removed the video. It certainly wasn’t any more obnoxious than the mere idea of holding a ride-and-drive at a church.
Anyway, the two-door 500 will only be eclipsed by the 500C convertible, which arrives later in 2011. This, in turn, will be rendered passé to well-heeled afficionados of automotive fashion by the arrival of the hotted-up 500 Abarth sometime in 2012. Will the enthusiast’s-choice Abarth come come in standard (135 hp), or Essesse (160 hp) tune? Sadly, only the survival of Chrysler’s current five-year business plan is less certain. And this new four-door isn’t supposed to arrive stateside until after the Abarth.
In the meantime, European markets will get the four-door 500 in 2011, badged with the fabled Multipla nameplate. Fabled how? Cuteness, for one:
Of course, the Multipla name must never be mentioned without reference to the the steel-spaceframed MPV which remains one of the single most challenging designs in automotive history.