The public was recently treated to a sneak preview of a crossover variant of the Fiat 500 minicar, the 500X, which will start selling in Europe in early 2014 and shortly after in North America. The preview of the full-size styling model of the 500X was nonetheless conducted by the global head of the Fiat brand, Olivier Francois, during the media launch of the 500L small minivan in Turin on July 4, 2012.
The Fiat 500X is expected to replace the Sedici and will bear a sports utility vehicle and hatchback styling. It will be the fifth variant in the 500 range, which already includes the 500 three-door hatchback, Abarth performance version, 500C convertible and the 500L small minivan.
The 500X will be underpinned by a widened version of Fiat's small vehicle architecture, on which the Punto subcompact is built. The Fiat 500x will be the longest variant in the range, measuring 4,200mm in length. Fiat will start building the 500X in 2013 at its to-be-expanded Turin plant in Italy.
Fiat is planning a EUR1 billion expansion of the site to enable it to produce 280,000 small crossovers yearly. Fiat may build the 500X alongside a new Jeep small SUV, having a code name of B-SUV.
It is set to go into production in the second quarter of 2014. The B-SUV, which is smaller than the Jeep Compass and Patriot, will be marketed in the U.S., Europe and other regions. Should Fiat confirm the plans, the 500X will become the first variant of the 500 range to be built in Italy.
Other variants like the 500 three-door is built in Poland for Europe, and by Chrysler in Mexico for the US and China. Fiat is planning to offer the 500X in two versions -- front and all-wheel-drive variants. The B-SUV, meanwhile, will also be offered in a trail-rated version, which is crucial for the US market. Fiat is expected to terminate a deal with Suzuki for Sedici production alongside the Suzuki SX4 at the latter’s factory in Hungary following the launch of the 500L.