While European buyers took to the Fiat 500 like a proverbial fish to water, American buyers have not, by and large, followed suit with quite the same vigor. But the next product in the pipeline from the Italian automaker could stand to change the brand's fortunes on this side of the Atlantic with something a little more accommodating to America's plus-sized appetites.
Code-named Ellezero (as in the letter L and the number 0), Inside Line says this new compact crossover is slated to debut this coming March at the Geneva Motor Show. Based on a new compact yet wide platform targeted at American consumers – not the one that underpins either the European or North American market 500 – the Ellezero takes a similar approach to the Mini Countryman, only even smaller. In fact we're told to expect the smallest crossover on the market.
Future Fiat and Jeep models are also expected to be based on this platform, with production slated for the Serbian factory that used to build the Yugo and which was, at one time, expected to produce a new Topolino that would be smaller (not larger) than the 500. European markets are tipped to get the new crossover later this year, with a U.S. market introduction sometime in 2013.