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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Inside Peek at the New Alfa Romeo 4C

Alfa Romeo 4C interior

Alfa Romeo has just released a teaser image of the interior in their new 4C sports car, set to debut next week at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. The no-nonsense cockpit of the Alfa Romeo 4C features extensive use of carbon fiber and specially selected trim finishes for an elegant, yet purpose built look. Let's examine some of the details.

Alfa Romeo 4C dashboard

This detail shot shows the Alfa Romeo 4C steering wheel with paddle shifters and the 4C's ignition key with stylized Alfa Romeo heart shaped grill theme. Not visible is the gauge cluster which is electronic and uses high impact graphics. The dashboard and door panels have a finish that resembles asphalt and deliver a race car like feel.

Alfa Romeo 4C carbon fiber interior

The Alfa Romeo 4C body and chassis is largely made of carbon fiber and is left exposed in the cockpit for all to admire. The carbon fiber is finished to a high degree for aesthetics and has the added bonus of replacing heavy carpeting. The pedal unit and footboards are made of aluminum. The heavily bolstered seats are made of a composite material for strength as well as weight savings.

Alfa Romeo 4C center console
In this shot you can see the silver Alfa DNA selector with the brand-new Race mode. This switch allows you to alter the 4C's performance and handling characteristics. Controls for the Alfa TCT twin dry clutch transmission are also visible.

Alfa Romeo 4C cockpit
The minimalist cockpit is all business, but displays an elegance and style that can only come from Alfa Romeo.

Read more about the Alfa Romeo 4C:

Monday, February 25, 2013

A look at the Fiat 500 Instrument Panel

Fiat 500 Abarth Instrument Panel
The Fiat 500 instrument cluster contains all the vital information needed and sits directly in front of the driver and not scattered around the dashboard. Fiat 500 Abarth Instrument Panel shown.

The stylized instrument cluster on the Fiat 500 is a favorite feature among Fiat owners. The attractive panel houses the speedometer, tachometer, and an Electronic Vehicle Information Center (EVIC) that contains an engine temperature and fuel gauge. There is also an ambient light sensor that automatically adjust panel lighting for changing light conditions and the cluster has provisions for up to 31 warning indicators.

 Fiat 500 Warning Lights

fiat 500 warning lights
Fiat 500 Warning Lights

  1. Cruise Indicator
  2. Seat Belt Indicator
  3. Charging Indicator
  4. Electric Power Steering Malfunction Indicator - Electric Power Steering (EPS)
  5. Rear Fog Lamp Indicator - with rear fog lamp in certain markets where required only
  6. Blank
  7. EVIC
  8. Electronic Throttle Control Indicator - Electronic Throttle Control (ETC)
  9. Tire Pressure Monitor Indicator - Tire Pressure Monitor (TPM)
  10. Automatic Transmission Malfunction Indicator - with optional automatic transmission only
  11. Change Oil Indicator
  12. Malfunction Indicator Lamp - Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL)
  13. Engine Coolant Temperature Indicator
  14. Turn Signal (Right and Left) Indicators (14 and 27)
  15. Brake Indicator - text only for the U.S. market, icon only for markets outside the U.S.
  16. Electronic Stability Control OFF Indicator - Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
  17. Electronic Stability Control Indicator - Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
  18. Antilock Brake System Indicator - Antilock Brake System (ABS)
  19. Ajar Indicator
  20. Security Indicator
  21. Wait-To-Start Indicator - with diesel engine only
  22. Rear Window Defrost Indicator
  23. Front Fog Lamp Indicator - with optional front fog lamps only
  24. Low Fuel Indicator
  25. High Beam Indicator
  26. Master Lighting Indicator
  27. Turn Signal
  28. Generic Failure Indicator
  29. Airbag Indicator

Engine Oil Pressure Low Message -
Each time the IPC receives a message from the PCM indicating the engine oil pressure is about 4 psi (27.5 kPa) or lower, the low oil pressure indicator will be illuminated.

The indicator remains illuminated until the IPC receives a message from the PCM indicating that the engine oil pressure is above about 4 psi (27.5 kPa), or until the ignition switch is turned to the OFF position, whichever occurs first. The IPC will only turn the indicator on in response to an engine oil pressure low message if the engine speed is greater than zero.

Engine Temperature High Message
Each time the IPC receives a message from the PCM indicating the engine coolant temperature is above about 248° F (120° C), the engine temperature indicator will be illuminated and a single chime tone is sounded.

The indicator remains illuminated until a message from the PCM indicating that the engine coolant temperature is below about 246° F (119° C) is received, or until the ignition switch is turned to the OFF position, whichever occurs first. The chime tone feature will only repeat during the same ignition cycle if the engine temperature indicator is cycled off and then on again by the appropriate engine temperature messages from the PCM.

In addition to the analog speedometer and tachometer, a digital bar graph engine temperature gauge and fuel level gauge are also provided.

Fiat 500 Temperature Gauge

Engine Temperature Gauge
This eight segment bar graph indicates the engine coolant temperature. When you turn on the ignition, the first segment of the gauge always illuminates, even if the temperature is -40 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature is constantly monitored, and the Engine Coolant Temperature Indicator will illuminate when the upper segments on the bar graph are lit. Three fully illuminated temperature indicator bars equal 140° F (60° C)

Fiat 500 Fuel Gauge

Fuel Gauge
The fuel level in the Fiat 500's 10.5 gallon gas tank is displayed by a gauge broken up into a nine segment bar graph. The low fuel indicator (about the one-sixteenth graduation on the bar graph) and a single warning chime tone is sounded whenever the fuel gauge receives a signal indicating the tank is: about 10 percent full or less and the vehicle speed is zero, or about 10 percent full or less for 60 consecutive seconds and the vehicle speed is greater than zero.

The low fuel indicator will remain lit until one of the following conditions occurs first: the fuel gauge receives a message that the fuel tank is greater than 13 percent full for 10 consecutive seconds and the car's speed is zero, or for 60 consecutive seconds and the speed is greater than zero, or the ignition is finally turned off. The warning chime will repeat during the same running period only if the low fuel indicator is cycled OFF and then ON.

The fuel gauge receives its input from the Body Control Module (BCM) which monitors the signal from the fuel tank sending unit. The BCM applies an algorithm that tells the gauge what to display and also compensates for the effect of sloshing fuel in the gas tank.

Fiat 500 self leveling headlight icon
Cars with self leveling headlights have this icon that replaces the digital mph reading.

Fiat 500 EVIC layout
Fiat 500 models with automatic transmissions use the EVIC on the left. Manual transmission models use the EVIC on the right.

Electronic Vehicle Information Center (EVIC)
The Fiat 500's EVIC features a reconfigurable driver display and contains:
  1. Clock - An electronic digital clock within the EVIC electronic display can be configured for either a 24 hour display mode or a 12 hour display mode with AM and PM notations.
  2. Odometer - An electronic digital total odometer displays either kilometers (km) or miles (mi), depending upon the unit of measure required by the market for which the vehicle was originally manufactured for.
  3. Sport Mode Indicator - The word SPORT illuminates whenever the vehicle is being operated with the optional Sport mode.
  4. Electronic Message Display - The 14 character pseudo dot matrix display within the EVIC is used to display vehicle information to the driver. This includes audio system message displays, warnings and information from the trip computer.
  5. Digital Speedometer (5) - Except in vehicles equipped with headlamp leveling, the driver can choose to have an electronic digital speedometer display supplement the standard analog speedometer readings. Kilometers (km/h) or miles (MPH) may be chosen.
    Headlamp Leveling Indicator (5) - Depending on what market the vehicle is being sold, this indicator replaces the digital speedometer found in vehicles manufactured for markets where headlamp leveling is required.
  6. Ice Indicator - A snowflake icon is illuminated whenever the outside ambient temperature indicates that ice could be present on the roadway.
  7. Engine Coolant Temperature Gauge
  8. Shift Indicator - In vehicles equipped with a manual transmission (except Abarth) a shift indicator text and arrow are illuminated each time a transmission upshift is indicated by the Powertrain Control Module. Fiat 500 Abarth models have this light built into the turbo boost gauge.
  9. Fuel Gauge
  10. Outside Ambient Temperature Display - The outside ambient temperature displayed is driver selectable from Celsius (°C) or Fahrenheit (°F).
  11. Reserve Fuel Indicator - In vehicles manufactured for certain Latin American markets where an on-board fuel reserve feature is required, the fuel icon and the text GASOLINA will be illuminated whenever the vehicle is being operated on the reserve fuel supply.
  12. Gear Selector Indicator - In vehicles equipped with an optional automatic transmission, the gear selector indicator displays the transmission range currently selected.
Fiat 500 Lounge Instrument Panel
Depending on the model, the Fiat 500 instrument panel has different themes. This panel is from a Fiat 500 Lounge and features highly stylized gauge graphics.

Fiat 500 Sport Instrument Panel
The Fiat 500 Sport instrument cluster is clean, crisp and sporty .

Read more:

Information courtesy Fiat USA
Images: Fiat Press, Chrysler LLC, Author

Thursday, February 21, 2013

2013 Abarth Experience is Open!

Fiat 500 Abarth at Abarth Experience

Attention Fiat 500 Abarth owners! The preliminary 2013 Abarth Experience calendar has been posted. For those who don't know, the Abarth Experience is a track day like experience included in the purchase of a new Fiat 500 Abarth. During the Abarth Experience, owners learn from professional high performance driving instructors how to exploit all the performance of the Fiat 500 Abarth, in a safe and controlled race track environment. Last year, the Abarth Experience was ranked the number one car manufacturer's provided driving school by Automobile Magazine.

The Abarth Experience Itinerary:
•Abarth Autocross — Horsepower. Handling. Brakes. Speed.
•Abarth Head-to-Head Challenge — Two Drivers. One Track. Who Will Triumph?
•Abarth Driving Dynamics — Learn Precision Skills from a Seasoned Professional.
•Abarth Performance Drive — Show Us What You've Got

The 2013 schedule that is posted is preliminary, and there are more venues being added. Make sure you visit the site as soon as possible because the events begin next month and, if you don't see a venue near you, check back over the next few weeks for the full schedule to be posted. You need to have taken delivery of your 500 Abarth to register and have your VIN handy.

Fiat 500 Abarth hard cornering

Monday, February 18, 2013

2013 Fiat 500 Abarth and 500c Abarth Complete Specs

Fiat 500c Abarth Cabrio rendering

Below is a complete list of 2013 Fiat 500 Abarth specifications including the new Fiat 500c Abarth Cabrio for your reference.

Dimensions are in inches (millimeters) unless otherwise noted.


Vehicle Type A-segment hatchback
EPA Vehicle Class Mini-compact
Assembly Plant Toluca, Mexico
Original Introduction Date Fiat 500 Abarth: Spring 2012 as a 2012 model
Fiat 500c Abarth: Spring 2013 as a 2013 model


Layout Transverse-mounted front engine, front-wheel drive
Construction Unitized steel body

Fiat 500 Abarth engine


Availability Standard — Fiat 500 Abarth
Type and Description: Inline four-cylinder, liquid-cooled, turbocharged
Displacement: 83.48 cu. in. (1368 cu. cm)
Bore x Stroke: 2.83 x 3.31 in. (72.0 x 84.0 mm)
Valve System: Belt-driven, MultiAir®, SOHC, 16 valves, hydraulic end-pivot roller rockers
Fuel Injection: Sequential, multi-port, electronic, returnless
Construction: Cast-iron block with aluminum-alloy head and aluminum-alloy bedplate
Compression Ratio: 9.8:1
Maximum: Turbo Boost (psi / bar) 18 psi / 1.24 bar
Power (SAE): 160 bhp (119 kW) @ 5,500 rpm (117 bhp/L)
Torque (SAE): 170 lb.-ft. (230 N•m) @ 2,500-4,000 rpm
Max. Engine Speed: 6,500 rpm (electronically limited)
Fuel Requirement: 87 octane (R+M)/2 acceptable
91 octane recommended
Oil Capacity: 4.0 qt. (3.8L) with dry filter
Coolant Capacity: 4.6 qt. (14.4L)
Emission Controls: Dual three-way catalytic converters, heated oxygen sensors and internal engine features(a)
Max. Gross Trailer Weight: Not rated for trailer tow
Estimated EPA Fuel Economy mpg
28 / 34 / 31
Engine Assembly Plant Dundee, Mich.
(a) Meets Federal Tier 2 Bin 5 emission requirements and LEV II requirements in California, Massachusetts, New York, Maine, Vermont, Connecticut,
Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington.


Availability Standard on Fiat 500 Abarth
Description: 1st, 2nd gear: Double Cone
3rd, 4th, 5th, gear: Single Cone
Gear Ratios
1st 3.909
2nd 2.238
3rd 1.520
4th 1.156
5th 0.872
Reverse 3.909
Final-drive Ratio 3.353

Fiat 500c Abarth Cabrio interior


Alternator: 120-amp
Battery: 500 CCA, maintenance free

MacPherson suspension, coil spring with KONI Frequency
Selective Damping (FSD) twin-tube shock absorbers and stabilizer
Rear twist-beam axle with coil springs and twin-tube shock
absorbers with 0.86 (22 mm) solid stabilizer bar

Type: Power rack and pinion with electric power steering (EPS) column
Overall Ratio 15.5:1
Turning Diameter (curb-to-curb): 37.6 ft. (11.45 m)
Steering Turns (lock-to-lock): 2.3

Rotor size and type: 11.1 x 0.86 (282 x 22) vented
Caliper size and type: 2.12 (54) single-piston with aluminum housing
Swept area: 193 sq. in. (1,244 sq. cm)
Rotor size and type: 9.4 x 0.4 (240 x 11) solid
Caliper size and type: 1.33 (34) single-piston with aluminum housing
Swept area: 153 sq. in. (984 sq. cm)

Wheelbase 90.6 (2,300)
Track, Front 55.4 (1,406.8)
Track, Rear 55.0 (1,397.0)
Overall Length 144.4 (3,667.3)
Overall Width 64.1 (1,627.0)
73.5 (1,866.0) with side mirrors
Overall Height 500 Abarth: 59.2 (1,502) to antenna base
500 Abarth: 58.7 (1,490) to roof
500c Abarth: 59.2 (1,504) to roof
Ground Clearance 500 Abarth: 4.1 (103.7)
500c Abarth: 4.6 (117.2)
Drag Coefficient (Cd) 500 Abarth: 0.352 — with 16-in. wheels
500 Abarth: 0.365 — with 17-in. wheels
500c Abarth: 0.352 — with 16-in. wheels
500c Abarth: 0.365 — with 17-in. wheels
Curb Weight, lb. (kg) 500 Abarth: 2,512 (1,141.8)
500c Abarth: 2,545 (1,154.2)
Weight Distribution, percent F/R 500 Abarth: 64/36
500c Abarth: 64/36
Fuel Tank Capacity, gal. (liter) 10.5 (40)
(b) All dimensions measured at curb weight with standard tires.

Fiat 500c Abarth Cabrio inside


Seating Capacity, F/R 2/2
Front Seat
Head room 500 Abarth: 38.9 (989.1)
500 Abarth: 37.6 (956.3) with sunroof
500c Abarth: 38.6 (979.9)
Legroom 500 Abarth: 40.7 (1,034.8)
500c Abarth: 40.7 (1,034.8)
Shoulder room 500 Abarth: 49.4 (1,254.8)
500c Abarth: 49.4 (1,254.8)
Hip room 500 Abarth: 47.8 (1,215.3)
500c Abarth: 47.8 (1,215.3)
Total seat travel 500 Abarth: Driver — 8.2 (210.0)
500 Abarth: Passenger — 8.2 (210.0)
EPA front row interior volume, cu. ft. (cu. m) 500 Abarth: 45.3 (1.282)
500c Abarth: 44.9 (1.27)
Rear Seat
Head room 500 Abarth: 35.5 (902.9)
500c Abarth: 36.8 (933.9)
Legroom 500 Abarth: 31.7 (805.1)
500c Abarth: 31.7 (805.1)
Shoulder room 500 Abarth: 46.4 (1,177.5)
500c Abarth: 46.4 (1,178.5)
Hip room 500 Abarth: 42.6 (1,083.1)
500c Abarth: 42.6 (1,083.1)
EPA second row interior volume, cu. ft. (cu. m) 500 Abarth: 30.2 (0.856)
500c Abarth: 31.3 (0.886)
Total Interior Volume, cu. ft. (cu. m) 500 Abarth: 75.5 (2.137)
500c Abarth: 76.2 (2.159)
EPA Luggage Compartment Volume, cu. ft. (cu. m) 500 Abarth: 9.5 (0.268)
500 Abarth: 26.8 (0.759) with rear seats folded
500c Abarth: 5.4 (0.152)
500c Abarth: 23.4(0.663) with rear seats folded
EPA Interior Volume Index, cu. ft. (cu. m) 500 Abarth: 84.9 (2.405)
500c Abarth: 81.6 (2.31)
Trunk Liftover Height 500 Abarth: 27.2 (690.2)
500c Abarth: 27.7 (705.0)


Availability Standard on Fiat 500 Abarth and 500c Abarth
Type and material Cast-aluminum, fully painted
Size 16 x 6.5
Weight: 18.3 lbs
Offset: 35mm
Center Hub Diameter: 58.1mm

Availability Optional on Fiat 500 and 500c Abarth
Type and material Forged-aluminum with Hyper Black or optional Bianco
Size 17 x 7.0
Weight: 18.9 lbs
Offset: 35mm
Center Hub Diameter: 58.1mm


Availability Standard on Fiat 500 Abarth and 500c Abarth
Size and type 195/45R16 XL 84V BSW all-season
Mfr. and model Pirelli Cinturato P7 A/S
Revs per mile (km) 901 (560)
Availability Optional on Fiat 500 Abarth
Size and type 205/40R17 XL 84W BSW
Mfr. and model Pirelli P-Zero Nero Three-season
Revs per mile (km) 877 (545)

Read more:

Friday, February 15, 2013

Fiat Panda Sets World Record

Philip Young and Paul Brace and the Fiat Panda

A Fiat Panda just set a new world record for driving non-stop from Cape Town, South Africa to London, England during the 80th anniversary Cape Town to London Run. The Fiat Panda completed the brutal 10,000 mile drive in 10 days, 13 hours and 28 minutes, beating the previous record set in 2010 of 11 days, 14 hrs, 11 mins. English drivers Philip Young and Paul Brace drove the Fiat Panda an average of 1,000 miles per day through 13 countries and two continents. The nearly stock Fiat Panda TwinAir conquered the roughest roads in the world and never missed a beat.

Fiat Panda world record breaker

The car chosen was a front wheel drive Fiat Panda TwinAir and was largely unmodified, save for some details. Driving non-stop through the desert required an extra fuel tank and an extra spare tire for emergencies. The seats were swapped out and were fitted with sheepskin seat covers. The covers were mentioned as playing a vital role in keeping the crew comfortably cool during the day but warm at night. It has to be mentioned that the Fiat Panda did not have air conditioning! Added roof insulation and roll down windows provided the only climate control during the whole grueling journey.

Fiat Panda in Africa

The roads in Africa can often be categorized as just ruts and ditches. What paved roads there are can be thought of as potholes connected by occasional pavement. To cope with this environment the Fiat Panda had the front strut mounts and control arms reinforced and taller springs and heavy duty shocks fitted. Taller and tougher commercial spec tires were mounted to standard steel wheels. A skid plate under the TwinAir's oil pan was installed along with an air intake moved to the top of the engine bay round out the bulk of the modification. It should be noted the crew brought a tool kit of consisting of only a throttle cable, a fan-belt, a tube of super-glue, a roll of duct tape, an adjustable spanner and a screw-driver.

Fiat Panda Cape Town to London Run

Cape Town to London Run

Philip Young and Paul Brace competed to break the record, but also to raise funds to benefit Farm Africa, a charity working with families in rural Africa, helping them to produce food more effectively. Please visit their fundraising page and read more about this worthy cause:

Fiat Panda

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Alfa Romeo 4C Debuting Soon

Alfa Romeo 4C

First images of the production version of the Alfa Romeo 4C were released yesterday, just weeks ahead the cars official debut at the Geneva Motor Show. The images show a car that is little changed from the Alfa Romeo 4C concept car that premiered at Geneva in March of 2011.

Alfa Romeo 4C rear quarter

The Alfa Romeo 4C heralds the rebirth of Alfa Romeo and showcases the technological capabilities of the storied Italian marque. It has been deemed that from now on, all the latest technology of the Fiat Group will make their first appearance in Alfa Romeo products and the 4C is an example of this.

The gorgeous Alfa Romeo 4C concept car. The Alfa 4C has already won awards before it even hit the streets or tracks: the ‘AutoBild Design Award’ (2011, Germany), the ‘Design Award for Concept Cars & Prototypes’ (2012, Italy) and the ‘Most Exciting Car of 2013’ - ‘What Car?’ (2013, Great Britain). The exterior of production car is very close to the show car, save for some minor details. We will have to wait for images of the cockpit of the production Alfa 4C, but sources say expect to see carbon fiber and a race car like gauge pod set.

Careful attention to weight, balance and power guarantee high performance. The two seat mid-engine car's chassis is made entirely of carbon fiber and the car will be manufactured at the Maserati production facility in Modena. The lean and luscious Alfa Romeo 4C is approximately 157 inches long, 46 inches tall, 78 inches wide and has a wheelbase of less than 94 inches. Weight targets are somewhere between 1,900 - 2,200 lbs with a 60/40 weight distribution.

Alfa Romeo 4C top view

The engine of the Alfa Romeo 4C is a new aluminum block evolution of the powerful 1750 TBi engine used in the Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde. This is a beast of an engine with performance characteristics said to better that of a 3 liter. The 1750 Turbo engine boasts direct fuel injection, dual continuous variable valve timing, a high-efficiency turbocharger and a revolutionary cylinder scavenging system that eliminates Turbo Lag. In Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde form, the 235 hp 1750 Turbo produces the highest specific output ever recorded by an Alfa Romeo production engine (134 HP/litre) and also has the highest specific torque (195 Nm/litre) in its category. A torque peak of 251 lbs-ft is reached at just 1,900 rpm. But all these specs should just be considered the starting point, as the new 1750 Turbo developed for the 4C will have specific intake and exhaust tuning, among other enhancements, that will exploit the full performance potential of the 4C. Power is rumored to be anywhere from 240 - 300 hp giving a power to weight ratio, according to Alfa Romeo, of less than 4 kg/HP.

A primer on the Alfa TCT twin clutch transmission, as used in the Alfa Romeo Giulietta.

Getting the power to the ground is Alfa Romeo's TCT twin clutch transmission. The Alfa TCT can be shifted manually, via paddle shifters or left to shift by itself in Auto mode. Lightning fast shifts and continuous power transmission without a loss of acceleration are the benefits.

A look at the Alfa DNA system and how it works on the Alfa Romeo MiTo.

Debuting on the Alfa Romeo 4C is a new Alfa DNA selector with an added ‘Race’ mode. Similar to the Ferrari Manettino switch, the Alfa DNA selector is standard equipment on new Alfa Romeo models and allows you to alter performance and handling characteristics. Until the 4C, the Alfa DNA selector offered three settings – Dynamic, Natural and All Weather. Depending on the model, Dynamic mode typically increases throttle response, initiates overboost and adjusts steering and stability controls for sporting driving. Normal mode softens the drive characteristics and is geared towards comfort. All Weather allows for maximum road holding under adverse weather conditions. The Alfa Romeo 4C Race mode is all new and, while we don't know exactly what driving parameters it will change, it is safe to assume it will offer something similar to Ferrari's Race mode; maximum engine performance and stability settings optimised for racetrack use.

Alfa Romeo 4C front

Production of the Alfa Romeo 4C is scheduled to begin in May, at an annual rate limited to approximately 2,500 cars, due to the highly labor intensive use of carbon fiber materials. Word is that Europe and the North America will each receive 1,000 units of the exotic car, with the remaining 500 spread around the world. A North American introduction is likely at the LA Auto Show in November, with US sales beginning next year.

The Alfa Romeo 4C will debut at the Geneva Motor Show, March 7 - 17. Mark your calender!

Read more about the Alfa Romeo 4C:

Monday, February 11, 2013

Next Gen Fiat 500 to Come From Poland

Fiat 500 on assembly line

Reports surfaced today that the next generation, 2015 Fiat 500 will be manufactured exclusively at Fiat's Tychy factory located in Poland. Currently, the Fiat 500 is manufactured at Tychy and also a plant located at Toluca, Mexico. The move to Poland will save Fiat development and manufacturing costs of having the 500 built in two separate factories. The Fiat 500 built in Poland is distributed throughout Europe, Africa, Eastern Europe and Russia, while 500 models going to the Americas and Asia come from Toluca.

Fiat 500 Abarth on assembly line

The Fiat 500 began production in 2007 at the Tychy plant, one of Fiat's top rated production facilities. Along with the 500, the factory also manufactures the Lancia Ypsilon and Ford Ka and, until recently, the last generation Fiat Panda. Fiat shifted production of the new generation Panda to their Pomigliano d'Arco factory in southern Italy and now, after losing the best selling A segment Panda, the highly productive Tychy plant has been suffering layoffs.

Watch the Fiat 500 being assembled at the Fiat Tychy plant in Poland

Chrysler's Toluca plant started production of the NAFTA Fiat 500 in December 2010 and produces a car that looks similar to the European car, but has an updated and enhanced chassis and body structure. These updates never made it to the European model because it was deemed impractical to retool the factory when a new generation car is around the corner in 2015.

Installing Fiat 500 sunroof

Centralizing Fiat 500 production and creating one global product to be sold worldwide will save tooling and engineering costs and will utilize Fiat's excess production capacity in Europe. Fiat spent $195 million alone in updating the Fiat 500 to meet NAFTA regulations and a further $550 million redoing the Toluca factory. These saving should help offset the cost of shipping 500s around the world.

Buffing paint on the Fiat 500 assembly line

Chrysler is also running near 100 percent production capacity here in the US, so shifting Fiat 500 production out of Toluca can benefit Chrysler and give them some extra capability.

All in all, this news makes sense. But as always, we'll keep an eye on how this pans out.

Read more:


Friday, February 8, 2013

Fiat 500: Making It Your Own

Fiat 500 Abarth by 500 Madness

With more than 500,000 possible ways to order a new Fiat 500 and a growing aftermarket accessories market, the Fiat 500 is a car that can be personalized like few others. In the video below filmed at the 2012 SEMA show, Tim Kuniskis, Head of Fiat North America, talks about why the Fiat 500 and 500 Abarth are great platforms to customise.

Fiat 500 Abarth Tenebra

Fiat 500 Abarth Venom

Fiat 500 Stinger

Fiat 500 Cafe Racer

Fiat 500 GT by Mopar

Fiat 500 Titanium

Headline image courtesy of 500 Madness

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Vote for the Fiat 500 Abarth!

Fiat 500 Abarth premium sports coupe

The Fiat 500 has won countless awards from all over the world, but it could always use a few more. How about "Fiat 500 Abarth: Favorite Premium Sports Coupe in America?" Sounds good, right? Well, the only thing keeping the 500 Abarth from winning this title is you not voting, so go over to Autoweek right now and vote for your favorite hot hatch! Tell your friends, too, and even those who aren't your friends - like your co-workers - to stop goofing off on the internet and do something important and vote for the Abarth!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Fiat 500 Super Bowl Ad

2013 Fiat 500c Abarth Cabrio Superbowl ad

Here is a look at the new 2013 Fiat 500 Super Bowl ad that played during the pregame show today. The ad features Abarth's Catrinel Menghia being gorgeous on the beach when a friend stops by. See what happens!

 Below are a few other Fiat commercials that were in the running to be shown:

A favorite from last year:

FIAT 500 Abarth - 2012 Super Bowl Commercial - Seduction

Friday, February 1, 2013

Fiat 500 Sales Kick Off to a Great Start

2013 Fiat 500 lineup

Fiat 500 sales continue at a record breaking pace. Sales of the Fiat 500 for January rose 31 percent over last year. Fiat reported there were 2,503 units sold for the first month this year compared to 1,911 for the same period last year. This is the 11th consecutive month the Fiat 500 has set a sales record.

Fiat 500 sales went through the roof last year, with a total of 55,600 Fiat 500s delivered in North America, more than double 2011's total of 25,161 cars.* And things are just getting started because 2013 will bring the introduction of three new Fiat 500 models coming in quick succession. First up is the hot Fiat 500c Abarth Cabrio ready hit the streets this spring, followed by the versatile 4 door Fiat 500L in June and, later in the second half of the year, the Fiat 500e, the first affordable fun to drive EV. This is going to be a big year for Fiat fans...

Fiat 500 Sales in the United States - January 2012 through January 2013
Fiat 500Current MonthLast YearVol ChangeCurrent YTD TotalLast Year YTD TotalVol Change
January 20132,5031,91131%2,5031,91131%
April 20123,849882336%12,6991,382819%
March 20123,712500642%8,8505001670%


* Includes United States, Canada and Mexico
Source: Fiat USA