US: Abarth 500 now comes with automatic transmission image

The 2015 Fiat Abarth 500 line-up, which just started production at Fiat Chrysler’s facility in Toluca, Mexico, has added the option of a six speed automatic transmission.

While the models, which have a broad appeal in Europe, have been selling well as well in the United States, the Abarth 500 and Abarth 500 Cabrio were hampered by the only option for a manual transmission – as in the US drivers are not required to know how to drive a stick.

The performance models that are set for summer delivery come out now optionally equipped with a specifically tuned six speed automatic gearbox, mated to the turbocharged 1.4-liter engine that delivers almost 160 HP and 183 pound-feet of torque.

“Accessible performance has always been a hallmark of the Abarth name,” said Jason Stoicevich, Chrysler Group’s head of the Fiat brand for North America. “Abarth sales increased more than 16% during this year, and we expect this sales success to continue with the launch of this new automatic transmission,” he added.

The sales success of the Abarth line was buoyed by the addition of the Cabrio version, which saw its sales jump 66% alone in May. Overall, the US line-up of Fiat models has grown deliveries 18% last month, with a good 17% increase so far this year, thanks to the introduction of the larger Fiat 500L model.