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Chrysler to build 4 versions of Fiat 500

by Bill Cawthon on

Roberto Giolito, head of Fiat-brand styling and designer of the popular 500, says Chrysler will build four versions of the mini-car beginning in 2011. The lineup will include the standard 500 hatchback, a convertible, a station wagon and a sporty “tuner” hatch based on the Abarth version of the 500. According to Fiat, an all-wheel-drive CUV is a possibility. All the versions will be sold as Fiats. Production may be at a plant in the U.S. or at Chrysler’s Toluca, Mexico assembly facility.

According to a report in Automotive News European edition, the 500 will be the only Fiat-badged model to be sold by Chrysler Group in the U.S. market. Other Fiat-based vehicles will be produced and sold under one of the Chrysler brands.

Chrysler will sell Fiat’s upscale Alfa Romeo brand, according to public relations chief Gualberto Ranieri. In his statements to Bloomberg News, Ranieri didn’t specify which Alfa models might be coming to the United States but he did say Fiat SpA plans to build some of them here.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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