• Jan 22, 2009
Click above for a high-res gallery of the Fiat 500

If some hot new rumors are correct, this week's Chrysler-Fiat tie-up could start to bear some very shiny and round fruit surprisingly soon. According to Motor Trend editor Todd Lassa, Fiat's cuddly 500 is being discussed for possible fast-tracking for American showrooms "in well under 18 months." Interestingly, 2010 is the target US launch date that has been floating around for some time now, but now thanks to the Chrysler-Fiat arrangement, there now seems to be an obvious distribution conduit.

According to MT's source, the retro-minded bubble bauble would arrive in Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep showrooms powered by a 100-horsepower four-cylinder engine and sporting a new front fascia disguising a reconfigured bumper strike beam. Interestingly, Lassa says that the car may be sold only in the U.S. and not Canada because the latter has slightly different impact standards that could be tougher to meet. America's northerly neighbors evidently require that front turn-signal lenses be able to withstand a five mile-per-hour impact without cracking (many such lights are used as government-mandated daytime running lamps) and a modified 500 may still not be able to meet this standard.

[Source: Motor Trend]


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  • 50 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      After Chrysler gets its $3 BILLION scholarship prize from the Federal Treasury, Fiat will buy a major stake in Chrysler for a paltry $12 MILLION.

      Will Chrysler or Dodge be selling the Fiat 500?
      In a word, "No!"

      Fiat will be building the 500 in either Brampton or more likely the Sterling Heights facility which will be reconfigured to handle Fiat platforms. A 1.4L turbocharged engine will most likely power the spritely sedan in order to compete with the upcoming Chevrolet Cruze.

      But what badge will it carry?
      FIAT!
      Sorry, no Dodge or Chrysler variants.
      The Fiat 500 will just be sold by Chrysler in America at those dealerships. Sort of like a more refined arrangement that BMW has with the MINI.

      Now, Chrysler still also has plans to bring a variant of the Nissan Versa into its line-up as well. Plus they are still talking into bringing some nice Tatas from India. No Chery's though (that deal is dead).
        • 5 Years Ago
        i'm okay with all of that...
      • 5 Years Ago
      I definitely think it could be a big hit in the states. Maybe not a huge hit in Wyoming or wide-open places like that, but I think it will sell huge in places like San Francisco, New York, maybe Chicago...

      Weather or not it compares in quality feel or performance won't matter to some people. I think a good amount of people will want it purely for the fun styling. and if the Abarth version hits US streets, then you'll get the real gearheads interested.

      I, for one, am excited.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I love this car! Would be interested to get inside to see if it feels like a sardine can or is deceptively roomy like the SX4. The body shape is funky and non-conforming like other small cars (is it a Fit or a Mazda 3 or an Aveo?) and the retro interior clean and inviting. Any clue on the price point yet? How about the gas mileage?
      • 5 Years Ago
      sigh... you mean "Sorry Canada". Putting the comma in that makes it a correction of your previous statement. In other words, your headline reads that it's actually coming to Canada, not the US. And all because of that comma.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Autoblog grammar strikes again!
      • 5 Years Ago
      From what i know, the Canadian front bumper impact standard had been amended and last i checked was changed to reflect the same standard as the American one. So i don't know why there should be a problem getting the 500 here in Canada.
      Please find the cited information below, directly from RIV.ca and the goverment of Canada.

      http://www.tc.gc.ca/mediaroom/releases/nat/2008/08-h158e.htm
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yes. A few hurdles to meet US standards. If the Smart Fortwo can meet them, then this little FIAT definitely will.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The car was actually built with exportation to the U.S. market in mind, so the changes necessary to sell it here should be relatively minor.
      • 5 Years Ago
      i think this is the worst idea of the year so far. this car is NOT a competitor for the Mini -in the US market. the meager 135hp of the top end 500 and cheap interior materials will be a huge letdown for anyone who has to drive this thing on a US highway. i'm sure it is outstanding value for the market it was designed for but i dont see it sitting well on the American pallette. its just not well suited to american roads, and will feel absurdly cheap to the average american consumer.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The abarth 500 essesse comes with 165 horsepower, which should be a sufficient power to weight ratio, as this thing weighs less than the mini, and would have near equivalent power to the Mini John Cooper Works Minis.

        In other words, I'm getting one, and with a big scorpion on the hood.
        • 5 Years Ago
        How do cheap interior materials affect highway driving, exactly? Trust me, this car's interior is not any worse than anything that a comparable domestic can come up with.

        Meager 135hp? For a small car, that 135hp is overkill. Unless the driver weighs more then the car, which I suppose is entirely possible in this country then yes, I see your point.

        I reckon if they enlarge their cup holders to accommodate the 7Eleven Big Gulp and perhaps throw in a $100 Burger King gift card, well, then the American palette will be satisfied.

        Seriously, people need to get off this "size-matters" attitude. It's time the country and its expectations go on a diet anyway, something your Pres has not-so-subtly hinted at in his inaugural speech, no?
        • 5 Years Ago
        its not about size its about percieved quality. i think if people get into a Fiat expecting more quality than a suzuki they will be sorely dissapointed. the pictures look nice, they really do, i'm just trying not to get anyones hopes up, its not a Mini killer, it may be competitive for the Fit if the economy numbers are good enough...
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Fiat 500 comes with 100 hp. The Abarth 500 comes with 135. And I assure you, it's by no way "meager".
      • 5 Years Ago
      Won't happen. No way way would or should Fiat dilute the 500's success and ruin it's chances to be an icon on both sides of the Atlantic by modifying the front end and selling it in Chrysler showrooms. Never.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I was just about to say the same thing. This car would be the perfect way to bring back the Neon name.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Brain dead US legistlation causes another car to need a redesign before making it over here.

      The US bumper legislation is a relic from the 1950s. Tell me again why you need a 3" metal bar in the front of a car.
        • 5 Years Ago
        So you break the kneecaps on whoever you're hitting! Americans love violence.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Color me skeptical. What about the time/cost involved in meeting US emissions? None of the 500's engines are currently sold here, and I doubt you can just bring them over as is. Remember that the Smart was engineered to meet US standards from day one, not retrofitted. And selling a Fiat--or Abarth--in a Chrysler showroom? Unless they can pull off what Mini did and get a slice of real estate that's pure Italian in character, I'm not sure it'll fly. They'd have a better chance distributing it through Maserati dealers
      • 5 Years Ago
      Smartest thing they could do. These things will sell like hot-cakes!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Two companies with abysmal quality coming together.
      When the going gets tough the Fiat boys will jump ship Andrea Doria style.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I hope You guys are right
        • 5 Years Ago
        You sir, are still reading old newspapers from the 70's, when Chevys rusted on the showroom floor and Fords exploded on impact.
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