Fiat Introduces Automatic Transmission to 500 Abarth
Traditionally, the Fiat 500 Abarth has had a manual transmission, but as the company is looking to expand its customer base, the Abarth will soon offer an automatic transmission. As of now, men make up 80 percent of the hatchback buyers, and with the addition of the new Fiat 500 Abarth Cabrio, the automaker plans to bring in more female buyers. Right now the Fiat 500 is offered with many packages and powertrain options, such as Gucci trims, Turbo models, and an upcoming battery-electric model. Tim Kuniskis, Fiat's North American president told WardsAuto that "I think when we'll see more women is when we have the automatic, and we're planning to add the automatic in the Abarth at some point, only because we're getting that feedback from customers." Thanks to the marketing of the Fiat 500 Abarth that features Charlie Sheen and attractive models, the hatchback has been pushed to the male audience over women. With the popularity of the Abarth on the rise, Fiat has steadily increased sales of non-performance models thanks to a commercial featuring Jennifer Lopez. "Everybody knows J.Lo. She absolutely put us on the map," commented Kuniskis. In the US, only 45 percent of small car buyers are women, compared to the 75 percent in Europe. At first, the discussion to add the automatic transmission was a cause for questioning, but as there are consumer requests for it, the automaker is no longer opposed to the idea. Also, the Fiat 500L will soon hit showroom floors, offering up many of the Fiat 500's styling cues. just with a longer wheelbase and seating for five, further appealing to female buyers. Source: WardsAuto
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