Fiat Previews the 500X Small Crossover
Project will also produce new small Jeep; by Luca Ciferri, Automotive News Europe
Fiat gave an unexpected sneak preview of a crossover variant of its 500 minicar.
The model, which will be called the 500X, will go on sale in Europe in early 2014 and shortly after in North America.
Fiat brand global boss Olivier Francois showed a full-size styling model of the 500X during the media launch on the 500L small minivan in Turin, Italy, on July 4.
The 500X will replace the Sedici in Fiat's lineup. Like the Sedici, it will have SUV and hatchback styling.
The 500X will be the fifth variant in the 500 range, joining the 500 three-door hatchback, Abarth performance version, 500C convertible and the 500L small minivan.
At about 165.4 inches long, the 500X will be the longest model in the 500 family. Like the 500L it will use a widened version of Fiat's small vehicle architecture that underpins the Punto subcompact.
Fiat plans to begin production of the 500X in December 2013 as part of a planned $1.24 billion expansion of its Mirafiori, Turin, plant to build 280,000 small crossovers a year.
Jeep sister model
The 500X likely will be built alongside a new Jeep small SUV, code-named B-SUV, which is scheduled to go into production in the second quarter of 2014. The B-SUV will be smaller than the Jeep Compass and Patriot and will be sold in the United States, Europe and other markets.
If the plan will be confirmed, the 500X will be the first variant of the current 500 range built in Italy. The 500 three-door is built in Poland for European markets and by Chrysler in Mexico for America and China.
The 500X will be offered with front- and all-wheel-drive variants. The Jeep sister model will also come with a Trail Rated version, crucial for the U.S. market.
The 500L will go on sale in September in Europe and in the second half of next year in North America. It will be built in Fiat's plant in Kragujevac, Serbia, which built Yugo cars when it belonged to Zastava Automobili.
Content provided by Autoweek.
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