Fiat 500: Abarth, Cabrio, Wagon Planned for US

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

The FIat 500 may be the only Fiat-branded vehicle to be sold in the new Fiatsler empire, but according to Automotive News [sub] the model will be offered in four, possibly five body styles. “Hatchback, convertible, station wagon and sporty hatchback,” models will roll out of Chrysler’s Toluca, Mexico, plant starting in 2011. Or not? AN suggests that a US production site for the 500 could under consideration, despite persistent hecho en Mexico rumors. And that “sporty hatchback”? It’s the Abarth! Will Americans only be offered the 135 hp Abarth, or is the 180 hp Abarth SS on the docket as well? No word from Turin (er, Auburn Hills?) yet. Oh, and how small is the 500 again? “About 10 inches shorter than Toyota’s Yaris hatchback?” That’s small.

[TTAC reviews the 500 here, TTAC lists Google Translate(d) foreign reviews of Fiat products here.]

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Mirko Reinhardt Mirko Reinhardt on Jun 30, 2009

    @Colinpolyps : Any one have reports on Euro reliability on this little fellow. Not on the 500 - it's too new. But the Panda has been out for years, made in the same factory on the same platform. Germany's biggest auto club ADAC's breakdown statistics place the Panda above the Japanese competition. Of course that's the Polish factory. No clue what it would be like hecho en mexico.

  • Windswords Windswords on Jul 01, 2009

    Mirko Reinhardt, There is no problem with Mexican built cars. Except for VW's, but the problem there is VW not Mexico. Chrysler's Toluca assebly plant is modern, flexible and builds a good product. That is where the 500 will be built.

  • Kristjan Ambroz Kristjan Ambroz on Jul 03, 2009

    Not sure you will get a 180hp version in the US, there isn't one in Europe. The 180hp 1.4 turbo is fitted to the Abarth Grande Punto SS (the plain Abarth in that application getting 155hp). The 500 goes from 135hp in normal to 155hp in SS form. It is physically smaller than the new MINI but it has much better space utilisation, so more space inside. As for equipment, one of the big differentiating factors of the car in Europe is that you can spec it up any way you like, with many more options than are common in the price class. The one problem I do see is that all the autoboxes Fiat is using in its small cars at the moment aren't quire up to scratch for the car to get a sufficient size following in the US. Could be rectified over the next 2 years, though (assuming something is already in development).

  • The FIAT Guy The FIAT Guy on Jul 10, 2009

    What’s cool is the Abarth 500 they’re sending over- Abarth is an in-house tuner along the lines of BMW’s M or Mercedes’ AMG… and has a fifty-year history modifying FIAT cars for racing and street performance. Can you imagine 160hp in this thing with 6-spd stick? Topanga Canyon here I come…