Fiat’s first venture back into the U.S. market, the 2012 500 subcompact, has been relatively successful thus far. The 500 recently received awards from Kelly Blue Book and Consumer Reports and sales of the little Fiat appear to be growing exponentially. Chrysler/Fiat plan to increase this success in the near future with up to three new U.S. models. Joining the base 500 and 500C cabriolet should be the hot-rod Abarth, an EV version and possibly a four-door 500.
According to AutoWeek, two of the upcoming 500s are set for their U.S. debut sometime in 2012. More than likely billed as 2013 model years will be Fiat’s Abarth and the 500 Electric. An obvious attempt to take away Mini Cooper S turbo buyers, the Abarth will feature a higher boost version of Fiat’s 1.4 liter turbocharged four cylinder. Set to produce 160 horsepower, the Abarth is already a hot-hatch hit in Europe and will differ from the base 500 with lower and stiffer suspension and a revised exterior and interior. Going the opposite direction as the Abarth will be the 500 Electric. Development for the powertrain is under way at Chrysler/Fiat’s Auburn Hills, Michigan plant. It should be a safe assumption that the 500 Electric will be mostly American built with a few key components, such as the lithium-ion battery, being made in Europe. Estimated MSRP for the fully electric 500 should be around $32,000.
There could also be a long wheelbase version of the small 500. Fiat plans to debut a four-door version at the Geneva auto show in March and shortly after, a U.S.-bound production version should follow. It will once again compete directly with a Mini Cooper variant i.e. the Clubman.