FIAT 500

10.07.2007 Fiat 500 to generate Cabriolet and Abarth models, as well as potential Wagon and SUV

Fiat are preparing a whole range of family models based on their new 500 supermini. This plan, which follows BMWs Mini brand as a commercial model, sets to capitalise on the 500s iconic image which has proved such a success already.

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 Fiats 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 week.

FIAT 500

Fiat is 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 500s 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 500s launch being delayed in certain export countries.


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Fiat want the 500 to be much more than car, they want it to be a personal experience, a car that talks to you; and in the flesh it looks cute, compact, inviting and achingly fun

2007 Interfuture Media/Italiaspeed