Fiat plans to offer a variety of its 500 model in order to meet the needs of different owners and make a hit out of its little 500 sedan.
Currently the only available model is the original two-door, the convertible, including a Gucci limited edition and the newest and most aggressive, the sporty Abarth, which offers 101-horsepower, 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine for a 160-hp, turbocharged four-cylinder. Other Abarth features are track-tuned suspension and brakes, dual exhaust, 16-inch aluminum wheels and specific exterior styling cues. The base price for the 500 starts at $15,000 and for the Abarth at $22,000.
The company managed to sell more than 800,000 500s overseas and the brand’s marketing chief, Tim Kuniskis says that “We think the success in Europe can be duplicated here.” He thinks that Americans will turn to the 500 model mainly because of the escalating gas prices. The regular 500 gets 30 miles a gallon in the city, 38 mpg on the highway, and the Abarth version gets 28/34 mpg.
Kuniskis also relies on the fact that the $23,500 Gucci version sold out quickly, and more than 130,000 people were willing to take a seat in a 500 at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show.