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Rediff.com  » Business » Fiat puts faith in retro-style 500 model with new seven seater

Fiat puts faith in retro-style 500 model with new seven seater

July 15, 2013 10:24 IST

Fiat puts faith in retro-style 500 model with new seven seater

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Italian car maker Fiat has unveiled a seven-seat version of its retro-style 500 model, hoping to tap into demand for higher-end cars and stem losses from Europe's moribund mass-market.

The 500L Living, which at 4.35 metres is about a metre longer than the classic 500, will go on sale in Italy this month with a choice of four engines.

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Image: New Fiat 500L Living and Trekking model in Arcore, Italy.
Photographs: Stringer/Reuters

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Fiat puts faith in retro-style 500 model with new seven seater

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Fiat Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne is seeking to squeeze more sales out of the 500 model in much the same way as BMW's Mini brand rolls out new versions of the same underlying car.

Europe's mass-market car makers are struggling under billions of euros of losses annually as consumers forgo new car purchases with unemployment at a record high.

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Image: Jacob Nyborg, communication and marketing manager of Fiat Chrysler EMEA, next to the new Fiat 500L Living and Trekking model in Arcore, Italy.
Photographs: Stringer/Reuters

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Fiat puts faith in retro-style 500 model with new seven seater

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Fiat is betting the 500 family has more appeal than its other mass-market cars like the ageing Punto. The five-door 500L - the world's only car to offer an optional on-board espresso machine - is built on the Punto platform but costs more.

"The strategy of leveraging the 500 brand awareness and like-ability should work out well for them," said Tim Urquhart, Senior Analyst at IHS Automotive, in London.

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Image: New Fiat 500L Living and Trekking model in Arcore, Italy.
Photographs: Stringer/Reuters

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Fiat puts faith in retro-style 500 model with new seven seater

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Fiat aims to make between 110,000 and 150,000 500L cars at its plant in Serbia this year. Fiat said last month it sold 30,000 500Ls in the first five months in Europe, where its Fiat brand had a 5.3 per cent market share in May.

It began exporting the 500L to the United States in June.

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Image: Fiat aims to make between 110,000 and 150,000 500L cars at its plant in Serbia this year.
Photographs: Stringer/Reuters

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Fiat puts faith in retro-style 500 model with new seven seater

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The 500L Living's price has not been announced, but judging from its sister car, the 500L Trekking, it will cost more than the 500L. The Trekking starts at 19,650 euros in Italy, about 4,000 euros more than an entry-level 500L and around 7,000 euros more than the basic 500.


Image: The 500L Living's price has not been announced.
Photographs: Stringer/Reuters

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