Fiat's Abarth Performance Brand Nixes Plan for Standalone Sports Car

By | October 31, 2013
Longtime Abarth fans may be disappointed to find out there are no plans to make a bespoke sports model for the brand, at least in the midterm. Speaking with the U.K.'s Autocar, Abarth chief Marco Magnanini said that the company will focus on its existing entries rather than develop sporty models based on Fiat cars. This means that there will be no Abarth Speedster for a while, a model that had been rumored for production sooner than not. The Speedster was expected to expand the narrow Fiat 500 lineup with a race-ready version of the minicar. Magnanini also extinguished all hope that there would be Abarth versions of the Panda—which Fiat sells overseas-- and 500L. Unlike in the U.S., Abarth is considered a separate brand overseas, akin to Mercedes-Benz's AMG on a lower level. The Fiat-owned brand's decision to stick to its current lineup may seem like an odd choice, considering its main rival is Mini. The British brand has launched a whopping seven derivatives of its Mini Cooper model as well as John Cooper Works high-performance variations, giving the brand a wider selection than Fiat. Some, however, have labeled Mini's deluge of new products as excessive, and perhaps this is Fiat's strategy of making sure it does not oversaturate the market.
Perhaps Fiat is also counting on its Alfa Romeo brand line to fill the demand for sporty models. The company is spending its resources on preparing for the Alfa Romeo 4C and upcoming Mazda-based Spider. For now, Abarth will continue to focus on its current range, including the 500, 500C, and Punto, which is a little smaller than the U.S. Dodge Dart. Magnanini said that Abarth is unlikely to add any more power to its current lineup. Abarth fans sigh again... Source: Autocar