Chrysler Fast-Tracking Fiat 500 to North America

Joshua Duval

Just a few days ago, we were speculating that the U.S. is likely to see a Chrysler-badged Fiat 500 emerge from the new Chrysler-Fiat marriage. Now, hot on the heels of the alliance announcement, rumors are emerging that Chrysler isn't even bothering with a rebadged version: they just want to bring the 500 over to North America ASAP.

Motor Trend is reporting that Chrysler is considering a "crash program" to get the Fiat 500 into Chrysler showrooms in "well under 18 months." According to Motor Trend's unidentified source, Chrysler's plan is to use the 500 to generate more traffic in showrooms.

The small European car would be brought to the U.S. but not to Canada, said the source. The 500 needs only a few modifications-including a new bumper beam and front fascia-to meet U.S. safety standards, but Canadian standards are tougher to meet.

If the 500 makes the journey over, it would be the smallest vehicle available in Chrysler's showrooms. The Fiat is quirky and stylish like the Mini Cooper, but is closer in size to a Smart car, albeit with a backseat. If sales of the Mini Cooper in 2008 are any indication of what consumers want in 2009-Mini saw its sales increase almost 30 percent in the U.S. market when the industry average was an 18 percent drop-Chrysler may just have a winner on its hands.

Source: Motor Trend

I would sign up for a 500 as soon as it's made available (which engines we will get is my only worry).Kumicho, you are exactly correct. Take a Mercedes and put the name "Chrysler Pacifica" on it, and not enough people bought it!
God, they can't get this over here fast enough... And please please PLEASE keep it as a Fiat, if you rebadge it as a Chrysler it'll destroy the entire project. Nobody wants a small little Chrysler with no history. Everybody wants a small little Fiat with almost 50 years of precedence.
How is they can fast track this, and GM cannot fast track the Cruze? Same safety ratings, NCAP right? GM must just be stalling because the Cobalt is/was selling better than expected.
Would it be a Fiat 500 or a Chrysler 500 when it arrives?

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