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Fiat Halts Orders for New 500 Abarth

Demand for performance model outstripping supply.

by on Jun.05, 2012

Fiat officials halted dealer orders for the 2012 500 Abarth though some dealers still have a few in stock.

Barely a month after launching sales of the new Fiat 500 Abarth the maker has told dealers it will no longer be able to supply orders for the rest of the 2012 model-year.

The high-performance version of what Italians call the Cinquecento has helped kick-start demand after a rough launch for the Fiat brand – which led to the ouster of the marque’s original marketing chief.  But sales have surged in recent months, buoyed by more aggressive marketing and the launch of the new Abarth edition.

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“The Fiat 500 Abarth is unstoppable,” Fiat brand boss Tim Kuniskis said in a statement.  “Dealer orders for the Abarth dramatically exceeded the number of units we had scheduled for production. We had to schedule additional production to try and keep up with the demand. Most Abarth units are sold within one day.”


First Drive: Fiat 500 Abarth

Why did we have to wait so long?

by on Mar.05, 2012

The Fiat 500 Abarth delivers subtle visual tweaks -- and a 60% boost in power.

You can’t sell a young man an old man’s car, goes the old automotive marketing adage.  And, the conventional wisdom goes, it’s tough to sell a guy a “secretary’s car.” Now, we’ve got nothing against secretaries, but the term usually applies to products that are more show than go.  And, arguably, that applied to the Fiat 500 hatchback that rolled into U.S. showrooms a year ago.

The Italian automaker is quick to note that it’s already sold over 500,000 of the 3-door microcars outside the U.S., but demand in the States has been sorely lagging behind expectations, and the anemic little 101-horsepower engine is likely one reason why.  But perhaps things are about to change.

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With the help of supermodel Catrinel Menghia and “bad boy” actor Charlie Sheen, Fiat is staging a high-amp launch for the new Fiat 500 Abarth.  With its taut suspension, 160-horsepower engine – and subtle styling tweaks that give it a bit of its own bad-boy look, the Abarth is the machina the Italian automaker should have brought State-side from the start.


Fiat 500L to Debut in Geneva

U.S. likely to get only 5-passenger version.

by on Jan.30, 2012

Fiat continues rolling out new models - such as the 500 Gucci Edition, hoping to finally gain some traction.

Bigger is better, or so goes the classic mantra of the American motorist.  So, can Fiat improve its fortunes by going just a wee bit bigger with an extended version of its 500 minicar?

Company officials confirm they will reveal the stretched version of the Cinquecento at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show, what is expected to be called the Fiat 500L likely to land in U.S. showrooms in 2013.

At just over 163 inches, the new model will measure only about 2.5 inches more than the current model, yet Europeans will be offered both a 2-row 5-seater and a 3-row 7-seat version.

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One of several sources confirmed that current plans call for offering only the 5-seat model when the Fiat 500L jumps the Atlantic.


Fiat Expanding Line-up, Alfa Likely to Debut With 4C, Says U.S. Chief

Plans for Italian brands falling into shape, according to Soaves.

by on May.17, 2011

Alfa will turn to the 4C to ensure no one can miss its return to the U.S. market.

With initial demand for the little 500 exceeding expectations, Fiat is laying out plans for an expanded line-up that will bring additional models to the U.S., according to the brand’s top American executive.

Meanwhile, sibling Alfa Romeo appears ready to use a production version of the wildly popular 4C concept car to help re-launch that brand here in the U.S.

Despite a two-month delay in getting the Fiat 500 to market, this past March, sales are running ahead of expectations, according to brand boss Laura Soaves.  Demand for the manual transmission version are stretching availability of the gearbox from suppliers, she said during a dinner conversation on Monday.

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Now begins the brand’s expansion, the 500C convertible facing its big test as journalists flood into New York for a first test drive.  That will be followed by the high-performance Abarth edition and, then, a battery-powered version of the little 500.

Soaves has long suggested that what Europeans know as the Cinquecento won’t be the end-all-be-all for the U.S. version of the Fiat brand and she confirmed that another, larger model is now set to follow.  In fact, it appears several products could give Fiat a much fuller showroom over the next several years.