After a nearly 30-year absence, the Fiat brand is expected to return to North America in December. The figures have yet to be confirmed but it's believed that 50,000 and 100,000 vehicles will be made in North America in 2011. Watch out for the Fiats to make an appearance in about 200 US Chrysler Group dealerships, primarily in metropolitan areas.
The lineup includes the 500 minicar as well as four subsequent variations. They are set to rival small imports such as the Mini.
The 500 returns more than 40 mpg. The Fiat 500 two-door hatchback is set to arrive in December. Powered by a 100-hp, 1.4-liter Fiat FIRE engine, the model also is equipped with the carmaker's MultiAir system, which improves performance and fuel economy. The Toluca, Mexico facility will start making the four-seat car while the engine, will be built in Dundee, Mich.
In 2011, Fiat's convertible version of the 500 in North America will go on sale. Assembly will be accomplished in Toluca.
Meanwhile, a 2012 version will be added in 2012. The EV, which will be sold only in the US, will be powered by a lithium ion battery pack. Also in 2012, Fiat will sell an Abarth performance brand version of the 500. The Abarth will feature an imported version of the 1.4-liter FIRE turbo engine that offers 160 hp.
Fiat will also import a four-door version of the 500 from Serbia. In Europe, where the model goes on sales in 2012, the still-unnamed vehicle would be classified as a small minivan because it has a hatch in the rear and a high roof. The timing for US sales is unclear. [via autonews]