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Chrysler Begins Laying Groundwork For Fiat 500 Sales

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We're just under six months away from the launch of the Fiat 500 in the U.S., and Chrysler is getting its ducks in a row in terms of dealers. Though Chrysler hasn't confirmed it yet, the first expected version of the Fiat 500 here in the U.S. is a doozy: the Abarth 500.

The plan? There will be 125 dealers in 41 states, focusing on markets with "growth potential in the small car segment." For the full details on how Chrysler will select its Fiat dealers, hit up page 2.

Not as fierce as the Abarth SS, the regular Abarth is still a hot hatch worth wanting. With 135 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque from its turbocharged T-Jet engine, the little car will deliver MINI Cooper-like performance in an even tighter package.

There have also been reports that the U.S.-spec Fiat 500 will get an upgraded platform to better meet U.S. buyers' noise, vibration, and crash-protection desires. It's supposed to be lighter, too--meaning we Yanks might just get the best Fiat 500 of them all. The upgraded platform won't be making the transition back to Europe or elsewhere.

The Fiat 500 hardtop will be here later this year (with some in Abarth spec, we hope), with the 500C cabriolet coming in early 2011. No word yet on whether the 500C will also get the Abarth treatment at some point.

[Chrysler]


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Comments (2)
  1. I believe that for the foreseeable future the 500 will be the only Fiat branded product to be sold by Chrysler dealers. Chrysler loyalists may not respond well to a flood of foreign products in their dealer showrooms, but would gravitate to the 500 as an economy car with sex appeal to augment their Chrysler products.
    The platforms that Chrysler will recieve to base their new compact and midsized offerings on will be totally re- designed, engineered,tweeked, powered in some instances and styled from the ground up by Chrysler here in North America.A Chrysler buyer will be getting the best products from Chrysler and the best platforms from Fiat combined in a traditional Chrysler (Dodge/Jeep) styled package. Most buyers would never know that the underlying platform is from Fiat (Lancia/Alfa) because it will be so heavily re-engineered by Chrysler for its traditonal market segment.
    By phasing in the Fiat influence and keeping Fiat badged product to a minimum, Chrysler will negate any resistance from customers, especially when they witness the quality and innovation of the new offerings.
    Welcome Fiat 500 and a "new era" for Chrysler!
     
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  2. I spoke with an Italian girl raised in the US who said her first car was an Alfa. She has been lusting after another one ever sense. When I told her they're coming she asked if they will be built in Italy. No I said on a Chrysler frame she said not interested. The driving experience will not be the same. Take note Fiat! USA wants the total Italian package not just image!
     
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