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Fiat expands 500 range and appeal

Automotive News reports on new versions of the Fiat 500 being marketed in the U.S. next year.

2012 Fiat 500 Abarth
The 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth.
2012 Fiat 500 Abarth
The 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth. Fiat

Next year two Fiat 500 models are scheduled to join the 500 and 500C convertible, which already are on sale as 2012 models.

Cars arriving next year will be a sporty Abarth version and an electric.

A fifth car will join the lineup in 2013: a four-door, five-seat, high-roof subcompact. It will be built on a larger platform but still have 500 in its nameplate. The car will expand the 500's appeal to young families.

500 Abarth: A sporty Abarth version of the 500 is due in 2012. The Abarth gets an imported version of the 1.4-liter engine with turbocharging that delivers 160 hp. Compared with the stock 500, the Abarth will come with a stiffer suspension, wider tires, and tweaked exterior and interior design. The Abarth will be pitched against such competitors as the Mini Cooper S.

500 EV: An electric version of the 500 is due in 2012. Work on the 500 EV is being carried out primarily at Chrysler's Technical Center in Auburn Hills, Mich., which is the center of electric power-train expertise in the Chrysler-Fiat alliance.

The vehicle's lithium ion battery pack will be supplied by SB LiMotive, a joint venture between Samsung SDI of South Korea and Robert Bosch of Germany, according to SB LiMotive.

When a near-production concept of the Fiat 500 EV was unveiled last year, CEO Sergio Marchionne said the production model would start at $32,000, with batteries accounting for half the car's cost.

4-door 500: A four-door, five-seat, high-roof version of the 500 is due here in 2013. The vehicle will be a European-style small people mover scheduled to debut next March at the Geneva auto show.

Fiat will build the vehicle at its new plant in Serbia.

The car will include 500 in its name, even though it sits on a platform that is different from and larger than the 500's.

(Source: Automotive News)