Fiat plans a wagon version of the 500 to take on MINI in the United States

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 17, 2012

Although the Fiat 500 didn’t make a buzz when it returned to the United States market, it appears that Fiat wants to boost its sales with a new wagon version of the iconic 500. According to Olivier Francois, head of the Fiat brand, the Italian manufacturer will introduce a five door model of the subcompact 500 in March at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.

This new model will be sold in the United States starting next year. For those who don’t know, the new Fiat 500 was supposed to be Marchionne’s answer to Bmw’s MINI but the first year on the North American market went poorly as the Italian manufacturer sold only 26,000 cars, which is about half the number forecasted by the company.

These numbers will affect Marchionne’s strategy to increase revenues to more than 100 billion by 2014 for Chrysler-Fiat alliance. "We thought we were going to show up and just because of the fact people like gelato and pasta, people will buy it," Marchionne told reporters on Jan. 11. "This is nonsense."

The company bets on a roomier version of the 500 in order to see some numbers but also on the recently introduced the Abarth 500, the sporty version of the Fiat 500 powered by a 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine capable to deliver 160 hp (119 kW) and 170 lb.-ft. (230 Nm) of torque. Last week, Fiat announced that the 2012 Abarth 500 will be priced from $22,000.

The North American market has customers who prefer vehicles that offer functionality and practicality but at the same time boasts of a strong fashion and style. With this in mind, Fiat has come out with the Fiat 500 Sport, also known as the Cinquecento. A re-imagination of the Fiat 500, this new offering is nimble and fit while being engaging and vibrant at the same time.

Fiat 500 Sport is the best example when it comes to the brand’s stylish and smart design. Thus while both the front fascia and the rear fascia are now more athletic with the flared aerodynamic treatment and larger grille, this is complemented by the sport-tuned suspension. In addition to the pockets in Mineral Gray and the aluminum16-inch wheels, helping highlight its athletic look even more is body-side sill cladding.

Rounding off the sporty look are the brake calipers in Performance Red plus the shadow-line window trim in gloss black and the chromed exhaust tip. Without a doubt, the new model is similar to the first Fiat 500 that was released 50 years ago. Simply put, while the Fiat 500 Sport has its own personality and potential, it remains to have a timeless craftsmanship that is clearly world-class.

Powering this new offering will be its top-of-the-line 1.4-liter engine. Fitted with the brand’s very own MultiAir technology, power and fuel economy are better by as much as 10% compared to engines of the same type. In addition, emissions have been lowered significantly.

Truly the Fiat 500 Sport has been enhanced to fit the North American market given the features on the interior and the driving dynamics. Overall, it is expected to be a high-value and stylish option for customers who prefer small cars. In addition to the Sport model, the Fiat 500 will be offered as well in the Lounge and Pop variants. Each of these models will have their own selection of equipment and distinct exterior cues

. The Lounge, Pop, and Sport models can be ordered later in the year with the new Fiat 500C, or the Cabrio, to be offered by the spring of 2011. Additionally, for those who want to have a more open view to the world outside, the Fiat 500 Sport comes with the SkyDome power sun roof.

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