It may not be a standalone brand yet, as reports have suggested, but the 500 family is nevertheless expanding rapidly with five-door minivan and crossover offsoots.
That’s not to say that Chrysler’s Italian partner has left the standard, three-door 500 alone: after introducing the 160HP 500C Abarth and the all-electric 500e at LA last November, today it unveiled two design concepts at the 2013 North American International Auto Show.
“We are not standing still”, said Tim Kuniskis, Head of FIAT Brand North America. “In 2012, we broke a record by selling more than 50,000 units in North America. A few months ago, we revealed four all-new vehicles that will carry our sales momentum into 2013. Now, at the Detroit show, we showcase how the smart use of accessories and clever design elements enhance the personality of our 500, which becomes the perfect canvas for personalization and self-expression.”
The 500 Abarth “Tenebra” design concept is, according to the company, aimed at “driving purists who crave more exclusivity and style” from the most powerful version of the Italian mini.
The Tenebra concept features a matte gray exterior paint with black chrome accents, glossy black headlight, taillight and parking light bezels and new black chrome Abarth 16-inch alloy wheels. It also sports the trademark Abarth strip on the lower part of the bodywork and the sporting division’s scorpion logo on the roof.
The grey/black (or Grigio/Nero in Italian) contrast theme is present in the cabin, too, with the Abarth sports seats with racing-harness passes, the flat-bottomed steering wheel, the gear lever and the handbrake wrapped in black leather with grey piping and stitching, while the dashboard panel is made of real carbon fiber with a matte finish.
The Cattiva concept is “inspired” by the 2013 Sport and Turbo variants of the 500. Its bodywork is painted a shiny copper (“Rame”) color and, like the Tenebra, has contrasting black accents, while its 16-inch alloys are painted dark grey with a satin finish.
Inside, Fiat’s designers have opted for an all-Nero (black) theme for the leather seats and steering wheel, and have painted the instrument panel a unique matte black color.
By Andrew Tsaousis