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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Report: FIAT 500 Abarth to come with automatic transmission as brand seeks to expand sales


FIAT is looking to have its 500 Abarth hot hatch appeal to more customers as WardsAuto reports that the Italian make may be adding an automatic transmission option, as opposed to the standard manual rower.

The decision is apparently due to the fact that 80% of Abarth’s buyers are males, which they say correlates to the Abarth’s manual only option. Adding an automatic transmission may help diversify their ownership crowd, mainly women.


“I think (with) Cabrio, maybe we’ll get a couple more women,” said FIAT’s North American president, Tim Kuniskis. “I don’t think it will change radically. 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.”


FIAT’s been on a trend of expanding their packaging and trim options for their models in North America in bids to brand themselves to potential and existing customers, to increase loyalty, which in turn, results in more sales—in theory. Their efforts can be seen through their advertisements, who’ve featured sexy models and even a cameo appearance by Charlie Sheen.

Also incoming is FIAT’s new long-wheelbase 500L model, which is set to reach dealers in the coming months.


“We’ll see what the consumer reaction is for something like that. It’s a different car; 5-passenger, 5-seat,” Kuniskis elaborated, “the standard engine is already the Abarth engine, the 1.4 Multi-Air Turbo. So it’s quite a bit of performance.”

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