• Feb 14, 2011
Now that Fiat has finally launched the 500 here in the United States, it's time to start looking ahead. The automaker has already said that it will offer two other versions of the diminutive hatch – a high-performance Abarth-badged variant as well as a battery-electric vehicle – and now Fiat has disclosed that it is planning to create an all-new B-segment car specifically designed for the U.S.

Motor Trend reports that the new B-car, dubbed Project L-Zero internally, is expected to arrive sometime during 2013. Fiat has not specified whether the new car will be a four-door sedan or five-door hatchback, nor did the automaker say if the B-segment vehicle would be sold in markets outside of the United States.

In talking to Motor Trend, Fiat North America's Laura Soave said that the automaker will not stray from its roots as a small car company. With Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep offering a bounty of larger vehicles, and with Alfa Romeo planning a return to the States, Soave told MT that Fiat would "likely never build anything larger than a C-segment car for the U.S." Earlier reports suggested that Fiat was working on a five-door 500 specifically for consumption here in the U.S., but with the automaker branding Project L-Zero as something "all-new," we'll have to wait and see exactly what's in store for 2013.

[Source: Motor Trend | Image: Steven J. Ewing/AOL]


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  • 22 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      FIAT cars are essential for the Group strategy in the USA
      Chrysler itself do not have economic small cars to sell so they lose potential revenues.
      FIAT have the knowhow to compete with brands such as Ford, Toyota, Hyundai and Mazda.
      In Europe FIAT has more competition than the US, in here we have Peugeot, Citroen, Renault, Nissan, Seat, Opel, and Skoda on top of the above mentioned brands.
      Strategically makes perfect sense.

      FIAT will design new cars for the American market because Americans do not love hatchbacks, and the current FIAT line up is almost entirely made by those kind of cars.
        • 3 Years Ago
        "FIAT will design new cars for the American market because Americans do not love hatchbacks, and the current FIAT line up is almost entirely made by those kind of cars."

        Its so odd that with the SUV and the CUV craze that the hatch back isn`t more popular here.
        Americans think a car must have a trunk. I say take a small car with a hatch back then you`ll have a efficient CUV.
        I think the USA is ready for hatch backs.


      • 3 Years Ago
      Is anyone else amazed at the plans, actual work and actual follow through Fiat/Chrysler has done in the past 12 months when compared to what MB did for Chrysler for years? The Italians have done more to support and improve Chrysler corporation and their separate brands /products in the past year than the Germans ever attempted to do in the entire time they were "merged" with Chrysler.

      Improving and bringing out 16 heavily revised/new models across Jeep, Chrysler and Dodge. Utilizing domestic factory and production by exporting cars to Europe to be sold under Lancia, Bringing the 500 to the US and now supplementing that with an all new B segment car. Updating Chrysler's engines with Multiair technology and putting out the possibility of bringing Alfa state side as well.

      I have not always been the biggest supporter of Chrysler but I am impressed at what Fiat has accomplished with them in so little time and with so limited resources. While at this point I do not think that Marchionne is a Mulally He seems to be giving it his best effort.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Fiat is doing good so far.
        Also Comparing Fiat to Diamler, Look at the shape Chrysler was in when Diamler aquired them as apposed to the poor shape Chrysler is in now when Fiat got them.
        I was really excited to see what a juggernuat Chrysler would be when teamed up with the makers of Mercedes Benz.
        In the end Diamler showed what a piss poor company it really is.
        If A Mercedes Benz is a better car today you can thank the resources Chrysler had for that.
        I don`t know much about Fiat but they do seem sincere about their over all success.
        They don`t have that superiority complex the Diamler had.
        God bless the Pentastar.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I fail to see what all the commotion is about. Is it too strange to anticipate an automaker actually using some common sense?

      Fiat has been assigned the market that it is most comfortable and in which it has an established reputation. Historically, Chrysler has not had any A-segment and B-segment cars, except as re-badged imports from Mitsubishi. That is almost all that Fiat does, is build A and B-segment cars. The L0 is a new car on a newly modernized Fiat B-segment platform.

      Fiat had three basic architectural platforms, with the B segment "small L0", being the oldest and most needful for replacement for the next generation Panda and Grand Punto Fiat offerings. Chrysler is getting Fiat's most modern architecture, the C-EVO and creating and extending an even wider D-EVO from it. The other is the Fiat 500. It is the micro A-segment architecture ,which had an MCE while having a new factory in Toluca build the new Fiat for the Western Hemisphere. Significantly, the Italian and Polish factories are adopting the Americas improvements for their Polish and European versions, so the Micro A-segment architecture is fully homologated and revised to be a true "World car" platform.

      It seems eminently reasonable to let Fiat design a new B-segment architecture and let it have that market slot in the one-dealer-sells-all, Chrysler dealerships. The only question is whether NAFTA becomes the Western hemisphere hub for B segment cars as it is doing for the Toluca-made Fiat 500s destined for Rio and Buenos Aires, as well as New York and Toronto.
      • 3 Years Ago
      "...specifically designed for the U.S."

      This sentence alone gives me feelings of trepidation. Why not just bring over the Panda? An inexpensive, efficient vehicle with enough space for a small family and a surprisingly capable 4wd system.
        • 3 Years Ago
        The Panda was introduced in 2003, and is due for replacement soon.
      thefacts22
      • 3 Years Ago
      Drove the Panda diesel in Spain,from madrid to lisbon ,them to gijon and back to madrid,it is confortable,has a good suspension and is "frugal",woul like to see them in USA
      • 3 Years Ago
      Abarth L-Zero here we come. Of course that name may mean zero emissions maybe its going to be electric like the leaf or something... L- Zero.
      • 3 Years Ago
      My dad had two Fiat's back in the 50 and 60's. I think he paid somewhere around $1200.00 He loved the car. it was great for just getting to work and the golf course--his clubs and bag barely fit... they were fun cars to drive and very cheap, they sounded as if you didn't have have a body on the car. I would buy a newer one especially now with a little more technology. I would like to see a five door and auto...we'll wait and see
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think that there should be a stripped down, budget version at $12 k, with the 1.4 liter engine with 100 hp, under the Fiat brand, with a 3 door hatchback and a 4 door sedan (so it would basically be like a Plymouth replacement to compete with Suzuki and Kia.)

      The Dodge version, in my opinion, should be available as either a 5 door hatch or a 2 door coupe. It should be more upscale and sporty than the Fiat. It should cost around $14,000, and it should have the 1.4 Turbo with 120 hp.

      Just my 2 cents
      • 3 Years Ago
      If not the Panda, then surely the Grande Punto or Bravo platforms would suffice for a US-specific model?
      • 3 Years Ago
      Fiat, Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, Jeep and Alfa? That's a lot of brands for one company, glad to hear they are keeping Fiat small as not to compete with Dodge but I'm rather surprised they are planning so many brands here after seeing the trouble it got GM into not so long ago.
      • 3 Years Ago
      If Chrysler makes "Fiat" a multi-model brand in the U.S., they'll have too many brands. Either use "Fiat" to refer to one car, so drop one of the other brands to make room.

      If anyone cares, here's my advice for Chrysler:
      - Fiat 500 -> "Fiat 500"
      - Lancia Ypsilon -> "Chrysler 100"
      - Kill the Sebring platform, Alfa Romeo Giulia -> "Chrysler 200"
      - Viper and Alfa Romeo 8C share the same platform.
        • 3 Years Ago
        FIAT multibrand plan is radically different from GM.
        FIAT/Chrysler brands don't overlap each other so they will compete directly with the competition not within the same group.
        The only 2 brands that might have a bit of overlapping are the Dodge and the Alfa Romeo which are both sporty/family cars.
        The good news is that Dodge is as American as you can get and Alfa is as Ityalian as you can get.
        So even in this case there is a very distinctive personality that make those 2 brands different even if competing in the same segment.

        FIAT cars are needed in USA, to compete against Toyota, Mazda and Hyundai.
        Chrysler do not have such cars
        It makes sense
        • 3 Years Ago
        They could get rid of Ram and call it a Dodge again. Thats ridding themselves of one brand right off the top.
        I`m not brand loyal but I have loved my Chrysler vehicles.
        Chrysler has always had a unique line up compared to the other manufactures.
        Fiat should bring over their big van as a Dodge to replace the Sprinter Dumbler had.
        I hope these little Fiats are great cars and they get some small iron in the Chrysler brands as well.
        Some standard trannys with good mileage and Euro handling would be great.
        A true Neon replacement Chrysler sorely needs.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I vote for the Panda 4x4. That would include the diesel motor w/ manual transmission.
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