Fiat to Limit 500 Offshoots After 500X Crossover Hits Showrooms

By Jacob Brown | March 25, 2013
Did you know Fiat makes cars other than the 500? We certainly wouldn't blame you if you didn't; none of those other vehicles are sold in the U.S.--at least badged as Fiats. But that's likely to change in the coming years. Fiat has said that it's officially capping its 500 lineup after the 500X crossover that is yet to hit showrooms. Currently, the automaker sells the 500, 500 cabrio, 500 Abarth, and 500 Turbo in various combinations, and 500L tall wagon is on its way this summer. In Europe, Fiat will also sell the 500XL, a long-wheelbase, seven-passenger version. The brand also makes a small hatchback and crossover called the Panda as well as a Fiesta and Focus competitors called the Punto and Bravo. Fiat brand chief Gianluca Italia says that more offshoots of those cars will be coming to expand Fiat's lineup.
Fiat slots below Alfa Romeo in the hierarchy of the company, selling smaller cars, vans, and commercial vans. Alfa Romeo, which will be making its long-awaited return to the U.S. by the end of this year, caters to luxury shoppers. In the U.S., a wider version of their shared architecture underpins the Dodge Dart and the upcoming Jeep Cherokee. More vehicles, like the Chrysler 200 midsize sedan replacement, are expected to borrow heavily from the corporate cookie jar. Fiat has a tenuous place in the American Chrysler portfolio in that it's primarily seen as a niche Mini competitor at this point. In the restructured Chrysler/Fiat, European brand Lancia is taking on much of Chrysler's lineup for sales overseas. Alfa Romeo is seen as a more sporting brand along the lines of BMW. Chrysler and Dodge will become the company's mainstream volume brands in the U.S. And Ram is taking Fiat's commercial trucks for our market. It's easy to forget that Fiat once sold the X1/9 sports car in the U.S., and that through some Eastern European reverse engineering, the blunder known as the Yugo came from an outdated, rehashed Fiat hatchback. Fiat has plenty to offer, and, unlike Mini, not all of the products are going to look like they fell from the same tree in the future. Source: Autocar UK