Fiat Boss Confirms Automatic Transmission for Sporty Abarth 500 Models

Even before automatic or dual-clutch transmissions became the norm for most automakers, any foreign company that wanted to have a moderate success in the U.S. market always offered a two-pedal option for its models. One exception is Fiat’s Abarth sub-brand.

If you visit the Italian carmaker’s U.S. website and select the “Powertrain” section from the “Choose Options” menu, the only choice you get is an “Engine Block Heater”, as both the Abarth 500 Coupe and Cabrio are offered exclusively with a six-speed manual gearbox.

Speaking to WardsAuto on the sidelines of the media launch of the new Abarth 500 Cabrio, Fiat North America president Tim Kuniskis said that the brand will add an automatic transmission to the range in the near future, primarily to draw in more female buyers as the current split in sales is 80 percent male and 20 percent female.

“I think (with) Cabrio, maybe we’ll get a couple more women. I don’t think it will change radically,” said Kuniskis about of the mix of Abarth buyers. “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.”

Kuniskis said that while 75 percent of all small car-buyers in Europe are women, it’s only 45 percent in the U.S., which is why Abarth chose to go for a manual-only gearbox. “We’re not opposed to doing it. We just didn’t think there would be consumer requests for it, and there is,” he said.


Fiat-Abarth-500-US-1Fiat-Abarth-500-US-2Fiat-Abarth-500-US-3Fiat-Abarth-500-US-42013 Fiat 500c Abarth2013 Fiat 500c Abarth2013 Fiat 500c AbarthFiat-Abarth-500-US-9

Next-Generation Hyundai Tucson To Have A Santa Fe-Inspired Face

The next-generation Hyundai Tucson will be sold with a range of new powertrains.

Car Vending Machine Trialed In London With Renault Zoe Inside

The bespoke contactless car vending machine allows purchases of up to £21,000.

Porsche Invests In Short-Wave Infrared Sensor Technology

Porsche has purchased a minority stake in Israeli start-up company TriEye.

Land Rover Discovery Mobile Malaria Lab Completes Mission

This SVO-kitted Land Rover Discovery covered 4,567 miles across Namibia, Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya.

Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid Laps Unfinished Gotland Ring

The 670 HP Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid lapped the unfinished Gotland Ring in 3:51 minutes.

Lexus ES 300h F Sport Brings Sharp Looks And Adaptive Suspension To Australia

Aside from the edgy styling and extra gear, the F Sport also gets Lexus’ five-mode Adaptive Variable Suspension.

Five Of VW’s Finest Vintage Coupes Taken To Sachsen Classic Rally

Among the VWs that attended the event were a Scirocco I SL and a Karmann Ghia Type 14.

2020 Kia Mohave Reveals Stylish And Massively Upgraded Interior

Set to launch in Korea in September, the new Mohave is much more modern and jammed with high-end features.

Tesla Model S Catches Fire In Chinese Repair Facility

Tesla has claims that the electric sedan’s battery pack had sustained serious water damage and the body shop didn’t handle it properly.

Bentley EXP 100 GT Concept Is Looking Great In California

The EXP 100 GT is not slated for production but rather previews the types of cars Bentley intends on making in the future.