Strong demand for the reincarnated Fiat 500 has been the story of its brief life. Since its debut in 2007, when it sold out its entire year's production run in just three weeks. Originally planned for a run of just 58,000 cars, output has since been increased to 120,000, then 140,000 and now the company expects to built 195,000 of the cars this year.

Capacity for production is above 200,000 now, thanks to expansions at the Tychy plant in Poland, where the Ford Ka is also built. Already, however, 230,000 of the cars have been booked for sale between the car's July, 2007 debut and June, 2008, reports Automotive News. Once the car goes on sale in the U.S. sometime in 2010, those sales figures will have the potential to double, especially once the rumored hybrid variant is introduced.

Fiat is capitalizing on the car's attention-grabbing styling and economical cachet by releasing a number of special editions, including two high-performance Abarth editions. Demand has even remained high, after revelation of a rather disconcerting crash-test result captured on video by Germany's ADAC, which pitted the diminutive 500 against the full-size Audi Q7 SUV.

The first half of 2008 saw 94,000 of the cars reserved by or delivered to owners, and it sees only further increases in sales as the 500 breaks into new markets. Those figures are enough to put it in the running for best-selling minicar in the world, taking second in the January-May period of this year. First place was nabbed by the Fiat Panda, which has led the market for four years.