Fiat has big plans for 500 in the U.S. image

The American car market has become crucial for the Fiat 500 model after last year overtook Italy as the biggest market for the model, with 43,772 to 42,919 units sold.

After the 500 hatchback and the localized 500e (only sold in California), the Italian brand has introduced in June the four-door, five-seat 500L on the U.S. market. But this is not at all the end of the family expansion for the 500 range.

For the small 500 a redesign is planned for 2015, possibly concentrating global production in Poland. Currently, 500s for North America, South America and China are assembled in Toluca, Mexico, while the European version is built in Poland. Also, reports say that some of the people involved with the next generation want the iconic 500 to obviously grow in size.

Fiat is now working on a larger five-seat 500 hatchback subcompact that would fit between the 500 two-door hatch and the high-roof four-door 500L. The still unnamed model, to compete with nameplates such as the Ford Fiesta, is set to appear in 2016 in the United States and Europe. In Europe the car will replace the aging Punto, which has been Fiat’s best-selling nameplate in the region for 20 years.

The company is also developing a 500x version in collaboration with the Jeep brand. The small crossover will be based on the same Small U.S. Wide platform that underpins the 500L and is expected to be about 6 inches longer than the 500L. Fiat will offer the 500X with four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. Production should begin in September 2014 at the Melfi plant in central Italy for Europe and North America.