Fiat are preparing a whole range of family
models based on their new 500 supermini. This plan, which
follows BMW’s Mini brand as a commercial model, sets to
capitalise on the 500’s iconic image which has proved such a
A three-door Abarth performance model is
currently in the final stages of development, and is set for
an international launch later this year at the Tokyo motor
show. A European launch will follow at Bologna. The Abarth
version features a 1.4 Turbo engine with 135 bhp. A hotter
version, referred to as the Abarth 500 SS (Super Sport) is
still under development with 155bhp oozing from its compact
dimensions. The Abarth series will feature an aerodynamic
bodykit including a stylish roof spoiler. The exhaust note
of the 500 Abarth will also be characteristically Italian,
with a distinctive crackle and pop emitting from the sports
exhaust. Also to add spice to the pocket rocket recipe will
be an audible dump valve sound, echoing the recent victories
of Fiat’s revived Abarth rally team.
Next summer will see the launch of the 500
convertible model, historically recalling the charismatic
Jolly open-top Nuova models of the past.
The historic Fiat 500
platform saw a range of niche versions built on it,
including the 'all-terrain' Ferves Ranger (top) and
the Giardiniera (above), both of which are seen here
during the new 500 launch celebrations in Turin last
preparing a whole range of family models based on
its new 500 supermini, starting with Abarth and
Cabriolet versions, these two could soon be joined
by a Wagon and SUV.
Other plans currently in the pipeline include a three-door
station wagon, and a four-wheel-drive derivative borrowing
its drivetrain from the highly competent Fiat Panda 4x4.
The 500 station wagon, which is still officially awaiting
the green light, is dubbed as the Giardiniera and could see
a market launch in 2009. The Giardiniera recalls the
historic Nuova 500 station wagon which was built between
1960 and 1977, however only around 372,000 of these equated
for the Nuova 500’s total production volume of 3.9 million
units. A final decision on the Giardiniera and 4x4
derivative will be made at the end of the year.
With a potential family of five unique Fiat
500 models, Fiat considers annual demand of about 200,000
units by the end of the decade. Demand has already shown
enough interest for Fiat to reconsider its production plans.
The original scheme was to produce 58,000 units of the 500
this year, increasing it to 120,000 in 2008. Fiat Group CEO
Sergio Marchionne revealed that Fiat are making plans to
boost production of the 500 to 150,000 units next year.
Italian Fiat dealers were authorised to start placing orders
for the 500 as early as June 1. Fiat reports that the order
books had filled to 25,000 units by the end of June. This
positive interest in the domestic Italian market could
result in the 500’s launch being delayed in certain export