Fiat is in a bit of a dilemma regarding the size of the next-generation Fiat 500, which is scheduled to arrive in 2015. Surprisingly and despite starting sluggish, the United States became the largest single market for the Fiat 500, with 43,772 sales, ahead of Italy’s 42,919 units sold last year.
In fact, the U.S. is so important for the success of the Fiat 500 that some Fiat execs want the next-generation model to be longer and wider than the current car in order to be better suited for its largest market. However, increasing the size of the Fiat 500 would completely change its positioning in Europe, where it is currently the second best-selling city car behind the Fiat Panda.
There are no divergent views as far as the design of the future Fiat 500 is concerned, as the styling theme will be an evolution of the current one. However, since the car will be designed in Turin, Italy, Europe may have an advantage regarding the dispute about the car’s size.
Another important decision for the next-generation Fiat 500 concerns the concentration of global production in Poland, where the European version is currently built. This would free up capacity at Fiat’s Toluca plant in Mexico where the Fiat 500 for North America, South America and China is assembled. This free capacity could be used for a future 500 five-door subcompact that would slot between the 500 3-door hatch and the larger 500L MPV.
Fiat hasn’t yet chosen a name for this model, which would be a competitor for the Ford Fiesta and is set to appear in 2016 in the U.S. and Europe, where it will replace the Punto.
By Dan Mihalascu
Story References: Autonews