Chrysler was in dire straits earlier this year, and while bankruptcy is now behind the Pentastar, the battle that looms ahead will prove if Chrysler can truly remain a viable company. Chrysler’s hope rests with Fiat, the Italian car comglomerate who took a 30% stake in Chrysler as part of the bankruptcy proceedings. While we’ve heard much and seen little thus far in regards to the future Chrysler lineup, the Detroit International Auto Show should give some hint as to the direction of Chrysler/Fiat.
One such car sure to make a big impression (in a small way) is the universally hailed Fiat 500 subcompact. Supposedly, Fiat will have an electric version of the 500 on display in Detroit next month.
This is about all Chrysler/Fiat will have to show off at Detroit, and are even foregoing holding a press conference. I guess an electric 500 will have to speak for itself. Car reviewers across the Atlantic have hailed the 500 as an excellent, compact commuter car. The 500 will be the only Fiat on sale in North America when it reaches our shores in 2011. Fiat plans to bring four versions of the 500 to America, including a coupe, convertible, wagon, and the Abarth sport hatchback.
The 500 is 33 inches longer than the SmartCar, seats four people, and will be built in Mexico. Chrysler will have all four versions of the 500 at Detroit, including the 175 horsepower sporty Abarth version. The other 500’s will get by on the 100 horsepower 1.5 liter FIRE engine. The 500 will also reportedly get the 2-cylinder, 0.9 liter turbocharged engine for 2010 over in Europe that makes between 80 and 105 horsepower.
Does an electric Fiat 500 stand a chance? Chrysler canceled its short-lived ENVI program after just a few months, and made more realistic projections about how much of its fleet will be electrified in the new few years. Are they serious about an electric 500 now, or still putting on a show for their Washington overlords?
Source: Autoweek | Image: Fiat