click above for a high res gallery of the Fiat 500 on the street in Birmingham

By now, we all know that if Chrysler is to have a future as an automaker, it is going to need some modern small cars. The plan is to fill that void with products that have their origins at Chrysler's new Italian overlords at Fiat. Anchoring the line will be the diminutive Fiat 500, 2008's European Car of the Year, which may or may not get rebadged. Either way, the little machine is already being evaluated on American roads.

This past weekend as we strolled down Maple Rd in Birmingham, Michigan, we spotted one of those Fiats just sitting there by the curb. Since Birmingham sits in the heart of where many engineers and executives from U.S.-based automakers and suppliers live, it's not at all unusual to find foreign brand cars sitting around with M plates, although they usually aren't taped into the rear window. It's entirely possible that this particular car doesn't even belong to Fiat/Chrysler. It could belong to any of the automakers, we'll just have to wait and see.

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