Hallelujah! The Fiat 500 Is Coming!
February 11, 2010
Yes! At long last, the awesome Fiat 500 will be here by the end of the year. Better still, it looks like we’re getting the super-hot Abarth 500 as well.
Ralph Gilles, v.p. of design for Chrysler, confirmed today that the retro-ride is headed to America three years after debuting in Europe. The comment came during a speech before the Chicago Economic Club in which Gilles called the 500 a symbol of how well the Fiat-Chrysler partnership is working out.
We weren’t in Chicago and Chrysler has not yet provided a transcript of the speech, but according to Motor Authority we’re getting four versions of the car — the three-door hatchback shown above, the 500C drop-top, a Giardinetta wagon and the souped-up Abarth 500. The Abarth gets a 135-horsepower turbocharged 1.4-liter engine. No word on what the other models will come with, but they’re offered with normally aspirated 1.2- and 1.4-liter gasoline engines and a 1.3-liter diesel.
The 500, which perfectly updates the adorable Cinquecento, could take a nice chunk of the market that’s gone to Mini. But it also could go after the Toyota Yaris and Honda Fit, Reid Bigland, president and CEO of Chrysler Canada, told Canadian Press today when the car was unveiled at the Canadian auto show.
Fiat has since June teased us with the promise of driving the 500 on this side of the Atlantic. According to Reuters, Fiat plans to start building the 500 in Toluca, Mexico in December.
Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne wouldn’t say how many cars might be built but called 130,000 an ideal target for the United States and Latin America. Chrysler plans to more than double its sales, roll out a dozen models built on Fiat platforms and repay its loan to the federal government within five years. The 500 appears to be a cornerstone of that plan. “The 500 is expected to stir excitement and certainly will help us position the group in the forefront of the industry in terms of innovation and fuel efficiency,” Marchionne said, according to Reuters. (During his speech, Gilles said Chrysler will improve fuel economy 25 percent on average by 2014.)
Sergio, we love you. Now please greenlight the 500 EV.
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