Sunday, 18 October 2009

Fiat 500 launched in Brazil (BR)

Fiat debuted the 500 city-car in Brazil as it was presented to the media prior to the market release later this month. Before December 2009, the 500 will spread throughout Latin American, as it will be launched in Colombia, Barbados, Panama and Jamaica. The car is already sold in Argentina, Chile, Curacao, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Saint Martin and Paraguay.

For the Brazilian market, the 500 will be available in two trim levels, Sport and Lounge. There will be only one engine available, the 1.4 litre, 100bhp 16v petrol mated to either a 6 speed manual or a 5 speed Dualogic semi-automatic transmission.

To adapt the car for the country's requirements, the 500 was revised and received new suspension with increased flexibility of both the spring and the shock absorber. On the safety front, 500 comes with twin front, side and a driver knee airbag, ABS with EBD, ESP and hydraulic brake assistance. Just to put in into perspective, Fiats larger but cheaper Palio Weekend supermini doesn't come with airbags as standard.

For the near future, it is rumoured Fiat will use its alliance with Chrysler to assemble the 500 in Mexico. The car will be bound for both North and South America from as the 500 will be, for now, the only car to wear the Fiat badge in the U.S.

So far, the 500 has proven to be a hit, with over 390,000 orders received for it to date. At the end of June 2009, Fiat reported that the car was selling better in overseas markets than in the domestic ones. At the time, 54% of the models rolled off the assembly lines where delivered in various countries across Europe. The percentage is expected to increase as the Fiat 500 flies into North and South America.

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