Fiat 500 Convertible to Debut This Spring; Abarth Model to Follow Thanks to Demand

With the Fiat 500 already on sale in North America (if you can find a dealer), the Italian automaker will expand its lineup with the addition of a convertible model this Spring.

At the recent launch of the 500, Fiat North America CEO Laura Soave revealed that the 500C will be coming in Q2 of this year. Nearly identical to the standard 500 model, this drop-top retains the roof pillars, but uses a retractable material roof to deliver open-top motoring.

Following that car’s debut, we will get a high-performance Abarth model in early 2012, although that was not originally the plan. According to Soave, Fiat didn’t intend to bring any of the more powerful Abarths to American, but demand for the car was so strong the product planners did a flip-flop.

In late 2012, Fiat will follow-up with a battery electric version of the 500 as it looks to compete with similar small EVs set to hit the market in the near future.

The goal is to become a real player in the small car market in North America, which Fiat predicts will more than double by 2014, jumping drastically from 442,000 units last year to almost 900,000 in 2014.

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