Although the two-door Fiat 500 is already confirmed for these parts, company insiders suggest a new offering -- a four-door 500 hatchback -- may soon be launched as a global offering.
According to Automotive News, sources close to Fiat suggest the automaker will launch a four-door hatchback variant of the 500. The report suggested the new model will launch in Europe by 2011, and will ultimately arrive in North America, although no specific timing was given for its overseas introduction.
Sources say the new offering will be both longer and wider than the two-door 500, making it approximately the same size as Fiat's Panda, which presently shares its platform with the European 500. Although this may seem like a redundant offering, that overlap doesn't exist in North America, where the 500 will be Fiat's only offering for the time being.
Still, we doubt a larger 500 would crib sales from its Panda sibling. While the latter will appeal to those simply looking for efficient, affordable transportation, the 500's style and character may allow it to target those shopping the likes of the Mini Clubman. We wouldn't be surprised if Fiat cranked up the retro touch for the four-door 500 and revived the "Giardiniera" name used on the 500 station wagon model produced between 1960 and 1977.
If the reports are true, expect further details on the offering to be revealed this Wednesday, as Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne is scheduled to roll out the company's five-year product plans to analysts, stockholders, and journalists alike. Stay with Automobile Magazine for the latest Fiat news from the conference.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)