Fiat’s return to America has been met with limited success. Sales of the 500 mini car failed to even come close to expectations, selling just a third of expected volume or around 20,000 units last year.
In Canada, however, with the higher costs of vehicles (and gas), not to mention a more European mindset towards acceptance of smaller cars, the small 500 has done surprisingly well. In 2011 Fiat managed to move over 5,000 units. While a fourth of the US total, it’s an impressive number for a population that’s one-tenth the size.
As a result, Fiat is looking to make a bigger push into Canada in the near future. While the recently-revealed 500L is expected to be offered in both the US and Canada, the Great White North will see two additional models: the Panda MPV, as well as the Punto. Enthusiasts who are now being introduced to the Fiat 500 Abarth, are sure to appreciate the Abarth Punto which is powered by a 165 hp turbocharged 1.4-liter engine and comes outfitted with the usual long list of Abarth performance goodies from brakes, to wheels and tires, to suspension components. In it’s highest trim, the 178 hp Esseesse version is sure to make for a compelling rival against the rumors Ford Fiesta ST.