Fiat to broaden 500 city car into full family of vehicles
In addition to the longer, taller, roomier 500L which launches into the UK in mid-March, further models will follow. This will start with a 500 Trekking, a two-wheel-drive crossover type vehicle that uses Fiat's “traction+” system that will be shown at the Geneva motor show next week. Italia said that more versions will follow including a 4×4 – the 500X – ‘and we are looking at many other variants,’ he added.
Italia continued: ‘We are looking at a full family of vehicles. We know that the 500 is often bought by parents for their children but the loyalty to the car is low, around 60% of drivers move onto something bigger. We want to be able to offer them an extended 500 range.
‘The 500 has been a very big success and the model still has a long way to go and we have a number of new developments.’
The 500 is playing a key role in European sales combined with the Panda; the two best-selling small cars are taking some 35% of the A segment across the region.
The 500L, said Italia, takes the 500 up one into the B segment but he expects to conquest sales from many other market areas, such as the C-segment family cars plus small and medium-size SUVs.
He added: ‘For the first time the 500 now has five-doors, it is a full five-seater and there is plenty of room for luggage. The car might be B-segment in size but it has the interior space of a family car.’
There are also two new engines for the 500L, including a more powerful version of Fiat's two-cylinder Twin Air turbocharged petrol unit, up from 85bhp to 105bhp while still keeping emissions down to 112g/km.
The includes stop start and an Eco mode that reduces output to 98bhp which, according to the head of powertrain Aldo Marangoni, places Fiat a full seven years ahead of the EU's 2020 emissions targets.
The second newcomer is the 1.6 litre MultiJet diesel with an identical 105bhp but with very different driving characteristics, said Marangoni.
He added that both engines debut in the 500L but will be introduced later into others group models.