When Fiat brought their retro-chic 500 to America in 2011, their goals were highly optimistic with projected sales at 50,000 cars. Fiat left America in the early 1980’s with a poor reputation of unreliability and cars easily susceptible to rust. As an untried brand in the US for decades and with a dealer network still in development Fiat fell far short of that lofty figure. When Fiat unveiled the 500 Abarth, just the opposite happened.
According to The Detroit News, Fiat is unable to accept anymore orders for the Abarth for 2012. You can still order one, but it will be a 2013 model, which won’t be available until Fall. With the Abarth, Fiat went very conservative with its sales projections. When the car went on sale in late April, there were already over 1,000 orders for the car, which is what Fiat thought they would sell for the entire 2012 model year. Based on the enthusiastic response to the Abarth, Fiat tripled production to 3,000 cars, but claims that was as many as they could build.
Powered by a 1.4L turbocharged four cylinder producing 160hp, paired to a five-speed manual with subtle bodywork and sport tuned suspension and steering, the Fiat 500 Abarth makes an interesting alternative to the MINI Cooper. The base price of $22,000USD certainly helped, and any Italian car fan worth his salt would be drawn to the Abarth mystique. So, if you want one, get in line.