Fiat Adds Automatic Abarth, Young People "Don't Drive A Manual Transmission"
In a bid to boost sales of the Fiat 500 Turbo and Abarth, the two boosted versions of Fiat’s city car will get an optional automatic transmission.
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
Does it really matter what kind of trans a Hello Kitty looking car like that has anyway ? I say good that driving a manual is becoming a lost art for the young and dumb . Much less chance of my vehicles getting stolen !
This is a story only because of the exec's comment about young people not driving MTs. The fact is that we're talking about a car that IS available as a MT, just now not MT-only. Big deal. The real story is all the cars that used to be available as MTs but no longer are. Like BMWs - hate them even more now (but they have telepathic handling!). And the upcoming Acura TL which is dropping one of the best MTs out there. And other high-performance "enthusiast" models that are coming down the pike with autos only. It's not the "fault" of current young people. Driving an MT just happens to be "hard" and not necessary, so over the years the number of MT drivers has dwindled. But the fact is, if you can drive an MT you are a more complete driver than someone who can't. I know that sounds harsh, but that viewpoint has to get out there or MTs will die eventually. I hate the luxury "performance" car ads where some cool dude with sunglasses and the requisite razor stubble confidently and resolutely "shifts" his AT. Dude, you ain't shifting - you're pretending. I happened to be given a car with a MT as a teen, and MT is all I've been driving for 35 years. My parents both drove MTs when they were young because there was nothing else, so to them it was what I needed to do. I had a tough week or two learning, and then one night it just kind of came to me. Perfecting it took a long time, but I was competent/confident in relatively short order. Do yourself a favor and buy one for your next car. As for the economic argument, I'm not sure where that comes from. MTs are cheaper than ATs when new. And if you're buying a used car, chances are they will be even cheaper. Find a used MT in a bad color for a good price.
The death of the manual transmission is yet another example of human beings wanting to have their cake and eat it too. People like the freedom that a car provides, but they don't want to be troubled with any of the responsibility of owning a car - things like maintenance, paying for gas or learning how to operate one properly. The same is true of voting. People want the power to vote, but don't want to be bothered to keep themselves informed so they can do an intelligent job of it.
what a waste of a good car. i only signed up to leave this comment for some young person who might be foolish enough to buy such a adomination. LEARN TO DRIVE! it will be so rewarding, much more rewarding than what is essentially buying a designer handbag if you buy a car you don't actually have to drive.