Automotive News is reporting that Fiat will add the two-pedal gearbox in July, when the 2015 models begin production. While Fiat sold about 36,000 500s in the USA last year, around 5370 of those were Abarths, and Fiat boss Jason Stoicevich puts a lot of the blame on its manual-only configuration.
Speaking to AN, Stoicevich was blunt in his assesment of what was holding the Abarth back, stating
Frankly, [young people] just don’t drive a manual transmission,”
According to him, the addition of the auto could add another 2700 or so units to the Abarth’s sales tally. Overall, 500 sales have been down by about 13 percent year-over-year.
EDIT: 500 Abarth sales figures updated