Fiat augments 500 range with Abarth 595 models

August 9, 2012 at 12:31 am

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Fiat 500 Abarth Special Editions

Before you get too excited about these special Abarth models, understand that these are for the UK and we’re not getting them, at least not yet – maybe we’ll see it Stateside if Fiat sales need an injection next year…

The two special models are named 595 Turismo and 595 Competizione. The former isn’t all that exciting compared to the American Fiat 500 Abarth anyway, basically just packaging typical aftermarket-style upgrades like 17-inch alloys, aluminum pedals, leather, Xenon headlights and red brake calipers, among other equipment. The Competizione is the interesting one, adding ungraded shocks, cross-drilled disc brake rotors, Sabelt seats and a Monza exhaust system to the equipment list.

List price for the Turismo is

Fiat may control Chrysler, but it can’t reach in its pockets

August 7, 2012 at 10:31 am

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Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne in front of Fiat emblem

Despite the fact that Fiat has a controlling stake in Chrysler, the Italian automaker cannot take advantage of the Pentastar’s recent success to ease its pain in Europe.

Chrysler is on a roll right now, with an improving product portfolio, most recently highlighted by the Dodge Dart small car. The Pentastar brand has combined cash and credit worth $13 billion, but according to a new USA Today report, the Italian automaker cannot plunder Chrysler to address shortfalls on its end. Fiat was forced to cut capital expenditures in 2012 by $612 million, and while the brand posted a $440 million profit, without Chrysler’s earnings, it would have been a $302 million loss.

So while the temptation might be there to move around funds where it is needed most, protections have been put in place by the U.S. government. According to Marichionne, “Firewalls are up, [Fiat] can’t get to it.”

As part of the original deal with Fiat and the U.S. government bailout, Fiat cannot get access to Chrysler’s increasing stockpile of cash. It can, however, keep profits, of which Chrysler earned $436 million in the second quarter off this year.

Fiat may control Chrysler, but it can’t reach in its pockets originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 06 Aug 2012 17:35:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Jay Leno burns rubber in a Fiat 500 Abarth

July 27, 2012 at 11:37 am

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As you can see from the screen grab above, some people get to have all the fun. Jay Leno, who owns more cars than you will ever drive in your lifetime, was graced with the presence of a Fiat 500 Abarth at his garage.

Now, this was not the first time that Fiat has stopped off with the potent Italian runabout. Fiat dropped in on Leno with an Abarth back in December of last year, but this time he was able to take it out on the road and put the performance-minded 500 through its paces. And that he did.

Leno owns the very second 500 to be sold in America, and raised the question: Is the Abarth good enough for an upgrade? We certainly think so, but Jay took to the Los Angeles streets to find out. Along the way, he mused about how the Abarth would stack up against the Ferrari Dino and the future of the performance automobile. To find out what Jay thought of the Fiat 500 Abarth check out the video below.

Continue reading Jay Leno burns rubber in a Fiat 500 Abarth

Jay Leno burns rubber in a Fiat 500 Abarth originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 26 Jul 2012 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Did Fiat just reveal the new 500T in its new commercial?

July 17, 2012 at 6:01 am

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Fiat 500T? -

Fiat may have given us all an early glimpse of its upcoming 500T in a new ad. The Italian automaker has just released a new one-minute commercial called “Immigrants” showing a flotilla of submarine 500 models working their way from Italy to New York via the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. Once the quirky little hatches show up on U.S. shores, something interesting makes an appearance. A 500 wearing Abarth body lines and Sport trim wheels comes rocketing around a corner.

We’ve heard plenty of buzz about a new 500T model designed to slot below the Abarth in the 500 stable, but it’s unclear exactly what that machine will look like when it bows. It’s entirely possible the commercial’s producers simply had to swap a set of wheels after an incident on set and that this isn’t what it seems to be, but we’re guessing it’s an intentional split-second teaser. Either way, it’s worth taking a closer look at the video below.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents revealed in early April that Fiat is planning to flesh out its 500 line, and that new model called the 500T Sport was part of that mix. Details have been scarce since then, but a model with Abarth-like power and a slightly lower profile would seem to make some sense, as there’s a pretty decent $pread between a base $15,500 500 Pop and the $22,000 Abarth.

Continue reading Did Fiat just reveal the new 500T in its new commercial?

Did Fiat just reveal the new 500T in its new commercial? originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 16 Jul 2012 16:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Fiat 500L to launch with world’s first in-car coffee maker option [w/video]

July 13, 2012 at 1:38 am

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Generally speaking, until we’ve had at least twice of the FDA’s recommended daily allowance of caffeine, we aren’t as observant as we need to be. For instance, when we wrote about the newly announced Fiat 500L, we were so distracted by its massive glass roof, seating for five and the potential of six engine choices we totally overlooked a small, but buzzworthy option.

When launched, the 500L will be the first production car in the world to offer a “true espresso coffee machine.” Yup, right there between the front seats plugged into its very own power source will be an actual, water-boiling, caffeine-dispensing, java-juicer.

Developed by famed Italian coffee maker Lavazza, the “Coffee Experience” kit comes with car coffee cups, a spoon holder and its own sugar container. At least one media outlet says the kit will cost €250 (about $300 USD). Fill the Lavazza 500 base with water and pop it into the center cupholder. The heating element boils the water, steeping the coffee-filled pod in the top part and, seconds later, you have a piping hot cup of brew.

Well, not you. Unless you live somewhere other than the States. Because while we fully expect the 500L to be sold here, there’s no indication from Fiat that the Coffee Experience kit will make it through the gauntlet of attorneys just itching for a good burn lawsuit. It could happen, but it’s not likely, so we’re guessing 500L owners will want to keep an eye out on eBay for retrofit possibilities. Check out a couple of videos by scrolling down to see if it percolates your interest.

Continue reading Fiat 500L to launch with world’s first in-car coffee maker option [w/video]

Fiat 500L to launch with world’s first in-car coffee maker option [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 12 Jul 2012 14:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Pics Aplenty: More Fiat 500L images, details divulged

July 12, 2012 at 12:46 am

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Fiat 500L - white with black roof, front three-quarter view

After first revealing its new baby at the Geneva Motor Show in March, Fiat has finally served up more information and images on its upcoming 500L. Spanning 13.6 feet from tip to tail, the Italian automaker says there’s room for five full-grown adults inside along with room for their luggage, thanks in part to a rear bench that can slide fore and aft as need be. All told, there’s a bit more than 14.1 cubic feet of cargo area out back, which bests the Mini Countryman by nearly two cubic feet. With the second row seats stowed and the front passenger seat folded forward, the 500L can also transport material just shy of eight-feet long.

In Europe, buyers will be able to chose between two gasoline engine options: a turbocharged 0.9-liter two-cylinder good for 105 horsepower or a 95-horsepower 1.4-liter four-cylinder. An 85-horsepower 1.3-liter turbodiesel will also be available. Later, Fiat plans to introduce a version of the two-cylinder designed to run on methane.

The Fiat 500L will be produced in Serbia and will be available with options including UConnect with a five-inch screen, a glass roof that covers five square feet and 11 different body colors. No word yet on a U.S. on-sale date, but we do expect the plus-sized Cinquecento to make it to our market, awkward looks and all. Check out the full press release below.

Continue reading Pics Aplenty: More Fiat 500L images, details divulged

Pics Aplenty: More Fiat 500L images, details divulged originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 10 Jul 2012 16:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Couple buys 3,333 socks, gets free Fiat 500

July 11, 2012 at 7:08 am

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LittleMissMatched Fiat 500 - green with polka dots - front three-quarter view

For most of us, a mismatched sock is not something to be celebrated, but then most of us are not pre-teen girls. While we were admittedly unaware that the Punky Brewster look is back in favor among stylish kids, fashion company LittleMissMatched got our attention with its latest promotion: Giving away a Fiat 500 to anyone crazy enough to buy 1,111 “pairs” of socks.

LittleMissMatched sells its footwear three to a pack – with none of the three having identical patterns – so the couple from Seattle who acquired the Fiat actually bought 3,333 socks. Their $15,000 purchase price was a reasonable deal for the “free” 500 Pop itself, even before you consider that the car was packed almost full of colorful socks.

See just how many socks will fit in a Fiat in our gallery.

Couple buys 3,333 socks, gets free Fiat 500 originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 10 Jul 2012 18:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Fiat surprises journalists with 500X sneak peek

July 5, 2012 at 5:26 am

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Fiat 500X crossover sneak peek - video screencap

Fiat is aiming its 500 lineup straight at Mini with the 500L and now this Countryman rival, the 500X.

To us, the vehicle shown here (reportedly shown as a teaser to a pool of assembled journalists) looks to have opaque windows which could indicate that it’s a non-rolling prototype, possibly without an interior.

CarsUK guesses it’s based on the 500L, suggesting the same 1.4-liter gasoline and 1.3-liter diesel engines will be available. It also makes sense to expect a better look and more details on the 500X that will presumably be released at the Paris Motor Show this September. The vehicle looks somewhat similar to the already-shown 500L, but its raised ride height, trim-free doors, rounded wheel arches and matte lower trim improve the look greatly in our opinion. The best part? It doesn’t have the 500L’s awkward wraparound windshield or its ungainly greenhouse and stepped roof. The faster rear windscreen angle and different lighting looks much cleaner, too.

Without citing a source, Indian Cars Bikes maintains the 500X is just over 13 feet long and will be available with all-wheel drive with production starting in late 2013.

Check the video below and watch for details coming ahead of Paris in September.

Continue reading Fiat surprises journalists with 500X sneak peek

Fiat surprises journalists with 500X sneak peek originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 04 Jul 2012 19:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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A 458 Italia-powered Fiat 500 is not a good idea, it’s the best idea

June 23, 2012 at 12:54 am

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Lazzarini Design Fiat 550 Italia

We’re pretty sweet on the resurrected Fiat 500. The quirky little hatch is an engaging driver with adorable looks. It is not what we’d call fast, however – even the Fiat 500 Abarth just barely lands itself in “quick” territory.

Fortunately, there are hard-working souls out there willing to remedy the machine’s acceleration deficit. Lazzarini Design has done some measuring and discovered that, with a little body work, the 500 can play host to much more formidable powerplant. How formidable? The crew wants to yank the beating heart from the Ferrari 458 Italia and plop the 4.5-liter V8 behind the seats of cinquecento. You know, where the car gods intended the engine in the 500 to be.

These are clearly our kind of people.

But they aren’t entirely off their medication. The engine has been detuned from 570 horsepower to a more reasonable 550 hp. Lazzarini says the project actually stretches the 500 wheelbase by almost a foot in order to fit the engine and transmission safely aboard. The whole machine weighs in at 2,200 pounds, even with ballast on both front corners to keep the car planted. If you like what you see, the studio says it is currently looking for an investor to help build the machine. Lazzarini Design estimates the project will cost around $550,000. Check it out over at the Lazzarini site.

A 458 Italia-powered Fiat 500 is not a good idea, it’s the best idea originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 22 Jun 2012 13:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Fiat closing for 8 days this summer to save money

June 11, 2012 at 6:26 pm

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Employees at Fiat‘s Mirafiori, Italy headquarters will get an extra eight days of vacation this summer. Fiat says 5,400 work at the office complex where its styling center, engineering operations, sales, marketing, administrative and other functions are housed.

The company said it hopes to save as much as $1.25 million a day by shutting down June 14-15, June 20-21 and another four days in July. Then, as usual, the HQ will shut down the entire month of August for summer vacation.

During those eight additional vacation days, Fiat workers will still be paid about 80 percent of their normal wage through the country’s Cassa Integrazione layoff program.

Fiat closing for 8 days this summer to save money originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 11 Jun 2012 09:14:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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