Chrysler Confirms 2011 Fiat 500 On Sale By End Of Year

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Though the Chrysler-Fiat merger faces a bumpy road ahead, and many pundits think it's a hopeless case--DaimlerChrysler redux--there's at least one bright spot for Americans in the mess: the 2011 Fiat 500. And it's coming at the end of this year.

Ralph Gilles confirmed the arrival date today at the Chicago Economic Club. When it does arrive, it's expected to get four different variants, including the standard three-door hatch, the 500C cabriolet, a "Giardinetta" wagon, and the model that is expected to launch Fiat back to American sales: the 500 Abarth.

The Fiat 500 Abarth will bring the brand back in style, with a turbocharged 1.4-liter T-Jet gasoline engine rated at 135 horsepower, the Abarth isn't as power-packed a mighty-mite as the 160-horsepower Abarth SS, but it's aggressively styled and sure to put the MINI on notice--and the 2011 Audi A1, too, if it ever arrives on our shores.

In fact, the range of 500s expected to land Stateside looks suspiciously similar to the MINI range. There have even been rumors that a crossover version is in the works, a la MINI's Countryman.

Whatever form the 2011 Fiat 500 takes on its U.S. debut, we're looking forward to the chance to hop behind the wheel and put it to the test.


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Comments (33)
  1. Fiat should be targeting Kia and Hyundai. Not the Mini Cooper. An Abarth verison will be nice but it's the low end dollars, in volume, that are needed. Not another "niche" vehicle.

  2. Since the Mini sets the standard for small cars it makes sense to target them, also they need to make a profit selling small cars.

  3. Leave it to chrysler to bring another ugly car to its line up...

  4. They've got my order. I'd love an Abarth.....
    Also a brilliant idea to not only go after Mini but to launch all of the models on the U.S. market at once. They'll be no "oh the three door hatch looks great but I wish they had the (insert model) like mini does", pure brilliance!!!!

  5. "They showed us a video of subcompacts like the Fiat 500, Fiat Panda, Fiat Grand Punto and an Alfa Romeo convertible sports car," recalled Skelton, new car sales manager at Provincial Chrysler in Windsor."They talked about the 1.4 and 1.8 litre, four-cylinder gas engines. I thought, 'We could sure use that.'"In fact, how CEO Sergio Marchionne intends to integrate the two companies and fill the gaps in Chrysler's truck and van-heavy product lineup is exactly what Skelton and other key stakeholders hope to find out when he releases details Wednesday of his long-awaited five-year business and product plan.

  6. " one bright spot for Americans in the mess: the 2011 Fiat 500. " Have you guys been smoking kr@ck? Chrysler had quality issues before. Now paired with Fiat their problems go away? Yeah sure. Pure brilliance, more like pure crap! If Chrysler had issues while with Mercedes their probs are only going to get magnified with Fiat. This piece of junk will never take off in North America. I hope someone has the sense to stop this hemorrhaging.

  7. "one bright spot for Americans in the mess: the 2011 Fiat 500. " You have to be kidding. This car will never take off in North America. Chrysler had quality issues while with Mercedes now with Fiat their probs are going to go away? No way. Pure brilliance, more like pure kr@p.

  8. Chuckie, you do realize that the Fiat 500 has won numerous Car of the Year awards, including the World COTY for design, right? This car is a hit in every market it is sold, and despite issues with Fiat brand perception that linger here (as you illustrate nicely) it is likely to be as successful as any small car is here, if they can get the price right.

  9. Chuckie- When you take your automotive views out of the seventies and can accept the fact that in an effort to make a profit Fiat now makes decent cars, please let us all know.
    In the mean time, something to open your mind with.

  10. A list of awards this car has won so far! Also Fiat sold some 58,000 in just two weeks of it being launched.... Not sure where you live Chuckie but if you have a Chrysler dealer on the tax records in your town I'd say your local economy is going to get a rather large boost very soon.... just say'in!
    What Car? readers' affections 2007
    CAR Magazine: Car of the Year 2007
    EuroCarBody 2007 award
    European Car of the Year for 2008
    The World’s Most Beautiful Automobile (City Car and Small Car category)
    AUTO EUROPA 2008
    Fifth Gear: Best Small Car 2007
    Top Gear: Best 'City Car' 2007
    Auto 1 Europa 2008 - (Auto Bild)
    2008 ‘What Car?’ Green Car of the Year Award
    Auto Express: "Best City Car" 2008 Best Supermini/City Car Award 2008 readers Sexiest Car of 2008
    Best Compact Car Consumers' Choice Award-Car of the Year in Japan
    2009 World Car Design of the Year
    Auto Express: "Best City Car" 2009

  11. The biggest problem Chrysler has is the media always picking on them. I have over 2,000,000 miles mostly on Dodge cars and very little problems. You people are brainwashed by the media. I have said for years Japanese cars are over rated and have just as many problems and most are rust buckets... wow, look what has been all over the news lately. You opinionated idiots that print this stuff and know nothing about an automobile should keep your mouths shut and let people make up there minds on what to buy. Just for the record I know more Honda owners with problems then any other automobile.

  12. Hungis says Chrysler is adding another ugly car to its line up? I don't know what all these designers are smoking, shooting, or sniffing.... but most of todays cars are all ugly to point of making one nauseous. Designers need to back 40 years when cars had personality and were built on practicality with todays engineering updates. I can name more ugly and impractical cars then nice ones... Aztek, Prious, Cube, Smart? how about dumb.... there is only a few cars made today that I would let be parked in my drivway....

  13. Now fettered to borderline basket-case Chrysler, expectations are low for FIAT rescuing them... but IMHO Marchionne is turnaround wizard who is going to impress one heck of a lot of sceptical people.
    And having driven recent FIAT vehicles while in Europe, rest assured that this is a company that produces cars of the utmost quality and in impressive designs- their current product is impressive indeed, going a long way towards explaining their increasing sales in the depths of a borderline depression.
    Just expect the unexpected from Marchionne... he's worked miracles at FIAT, and he's got a serious plan for Chrysler and some FIATs in this country. Competitors, underestimate this man at your peril-

  14. why hold FIAT to a reputation of cars of 70'& 80' in those years FORD was making the PINTO, CHEVY was making the VEGA, and AMC the eagle, a lot worst of any FIAT 128-124-131-x1/9.....Just because of your discriminatory point of view i'm happy to see all the american car companies went BANKRUPT....

  15. mistera, you do of course realize that FORD did not go bankrupt, and did not even get a bailout right?

  16. It can not come soon enough! I have been lusting after this car since 2006! I had a picture of a tuned 500 on one of my high school binders.
    What I really want is the EsseEsse. 160hp really is a lot considering the original 500 had about as much horsepower as my 1975 Batavus moped!

  17. I don't care if Fiat has won a million awards for the 500 Marchionne had better have the ability to walk on water cause he is going to need it. I would not be caught dead in any Fiat. In an effort to make a profit Fiat now makes decent cars - what are you a Fiat dealer? Decent cars? If they gave away these things for free I would be running in the opposite direction. I got news for you there are plenty out there with my "seventies" views. This piece of crap will never have any success here in North America under any name Fiat, Chrysler or BoDidly.

  18. @mistera,
    hey, don't hate on the Vega, lol! I'd love a Vega. With a blown 454 and tubbed rear, of course!
    However, I agree with you; some of the anti-FIAT comments are just plain ignorant. And you're right, everybody's cars were crappy in the late '70s-'80s.
    This does prove that there is still much ignorance that has to be overcome in America, much as I've met many people who still think diesels are smelly, dirty, and noisy.

  19. @Chuckie,
    yes, there are many people still with your "seventies" views. There are also many people that are neo-Nazis, and many people who believe that Elvis is an extraterrestrial who never died, because he's also immortal, lol.
    Fiat's quality is as good as anybody else's. Come out of your coma; you'll find it's now the 21st century.

  20. Oh so now I am a neo Nazi for daring to disagree from the likes of yourself? I am not sure which one of us is in the neo Nazi class? I could not care less if Fiat's quality is better than Mercedes, Lexus, BMW and Cadillac's combined. You go ahead and buy it. I am sure you will be very happy with your purchase. For the rest of us there are many many other brands to consider.

  21. Chuckie do not bother with small minds. Sheeples they are.

  22. @Chuckie,
    I wasn't calling YOU a neo-Nazi, I was simply saying that there are people who will believe anything, but that doesn't mean they're correct.
    And now you're saying, "I could not care less if Fiat's quality is better than Mercedes, Lexus, BMW and Cadillac's combined".
    However, your original comment was on Fiat's problems with quality.
    So is it about quality, or just that you don't like the car?

  23. FIAT revolutioned the DIESEL engine with its COMMON RAIL INJECTION (TDI) technology INVENTION, now it has revolutioned the GASOLINE engine with its MULTIAIR technology INVENTION which is sharing with CHRYSLER including DUAL CLUTCH technology,STOP and START technology etc...Then if things work out with CHRYSLER, FIAT is an american company....

  24. Fiat / Chrysler desperately need a small car to compete with ALL other brands out there. The 500 fits the bill as a proven product. The fact they are aligning it against the MINI rather than, say the Corolla, is a good indication that they are going upmarket with it rather than fighting in the trenches with the rest of the compact crowd. It’s a smart move because that’s where the profits are – not in the lower end of the market. Will they sell enough of them to make it worthwhile? It’s a gamble they seem willing to take. Perception of dependability of Fiat products is on the low side in North America (whether this reputation is warranted or not is another thing). Unless they can change it, they’ll have a hard time selling them at premium price. BMW managed to win this gamble with the MINI. I wouldn’t see why Fiat / Chrysler couldn’t do the same with the 500. They have a long uphill battle ahead of them and I wish them the best. I always love success stories!

  25. The Fiat/Chrysler partnership is proceeding famously,thank you. The process of merging,mixing and creating from scratch a whole line of world-wide products that are targeted for seperate markets is going full bore and on schedule. The 500 is the first salvo and in a few years Chrysler will be a resounding success in America with distinctly unique cars, SUVs, minivans and trucks based on shared Chrysler/Fiat platforms. Look for hugh market penetration by Chrysler products world-wide through Fiats' extensive foreign network. Welcome to America, 500 !!!!

  26. I just got back from France and was able to get a ride in a standard 135 HP Abarth version of the 500. Put up or shut up I say, and FIAT has put up in spades. The car handled very neutral, was peppy, had a great exhaust note and the seats were comfortable – it gets pretty good mileage too. It is cuter than all get out and it put a huge smile on my face! I will definitely get one of these when it comes out and I heard you are just a chip away from 160 HP. Smart move.

  27. i can understand where people feel that Chrysler has quality issues. But Sergio is now the CEO of Chrysler/Fiat and is introducing the fiat into north america to compete against the mini. with the technology that Chrysler has and the quality of Fiat. This will be One extremely well put together product in America. To become rich can happen over night. To become successful takes time and that is what the Chrysler/Fiat are doing at this time. (:

  28. What a bunch of babies. If Christ came back or Aliens landing in a spaceship, you'd all complain about something.
    It's a great looking little car, America needs more of these and less teenagers driving tanks.

  29. This is the most intelligent and "smart concept" car I ever knew. I know the US version and I am sure its going to be a hit. Best value available in 2011.

  30. The reason the Daimler-Chrysler partnership didn't work was because Chrysler let Mercedes engineer there cars. They think because they are German they are superior but Mercedes cant make a car that's easy to fix. We used to own a PT cruiser from the time of that partnership, you had to take off the whole side of the car to change the timing chain and on top of that they couldn't give them a fuel efficient car to save their lives and on top of THAT they never really had any interest they stripped Chrysler for parts. They then sold it to a venture capitalist company called CERBERUS!!! Fiat saved Chrysler, and now will skyrocket them to the top trust me. Quote me Chuckie

  31. chuckie....your an idiot.It's that type of attitude
    that defeats the whole idea of a returning car line.
    How about Alfa Romero,peugeot? Are you so stupid to think that these people are stuck in the 70's??
    Times change and you should give them the benefit of the doubt to prove themselves. I will take on any sports car regardless of make or model on any twisty backroad in the bay area in my lowly crappy (in your eye) 1974 fiat x1/9,and most likely win. Why? because I understand the fiat breed. So why don't you jump in your 2008 beetle and drive to starbucks. Nice flower arrangement in the dash vase.

  32. Gentleman, gentleman, take it easy! American car manufacturers now came back bigger and better. Chrysler was smart to get away from old Benz E class parts and finally dump Daimler-Benz. Fiat has brought out more technology in Chrysler products, ie Chrysler 200 and 300, and gained better build quality. Their new mini van is shared with Vdub (Routan) and continues refinements and innovative to help compete for the valuable soccer mommy van market. Hemi-engined cars and an award-winning RAM truck continue get best features, ie for American tastes and needs in class. I see tons of good ole boys driving big Dodge RAMs and grinning from ear to ear, obviously pleased with Chrysler products.

  33. Just curious as to where the planned Fiat 500 will be assembled, Ontario? I plan on having a look at one. I have little confidence in Chysler, but I am keeping an open mind. I have an '02 MB 430S and I would comment that there is way to much in the way of plastic in the vehicle. I am very skeptical of Euro cars in general, especially VW/Audi. In general most modern autos are designed as "throw away" vehicles. The idea (goal?) is to have the consuming public think about cars as they do refrigerators...there is no thought as to maintenance. It is a matter of statistical process control, Honda is a past master at this approach. I'm just old school, sorry....

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