Sporty Fiat 500 Abarth to get automatic transmission option

Trevor Hofmann - CAP staff
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Let's face it: the majority of cars are sold with automatic transmissions, even sporty cars. It seems that Fiat is just learning something Volkswagen's known for years. The German automaker's GTI was once only available with a manual gearbox, but now VW sells more with its optional paddle-shifting dual-clutch DSG automatic. Likewise, Honda is getting ready to remedy slower-than-need-be Civic Si sales with an automatic gearbox of its own, so why not an autobox for Fiat's pocket rocket 500 Abarth?

According to Ward's Auto, the number of customer requests for an automatic transmission in the 500 Abarth has caused them to rethink the model's packaging.

"We're not opposed to doing it," said Tim Kuniskis, president of Fiat North America. "We just didn't think there would be consumer requests for it, and there is."

Now that Fiat is expanding the Abarth range to include a convertible based on the 500C it expects to lure in more women buyers to its performance-oriented sub-brand.

"I think when we'll see more women is when we have the automatic, and we're planning to add the automatic in the Abarth at some point, only because we're getting that feedback from customers," added Kuniskis.

Words like "at some point" aren't very definitive, at least about an arrival date. Whether it's for the 2014 model year or later hasn't been made known, but fans of the sportiest Fiat can at least be assured that an automatic version is in the planning stages.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Hatchback, Sports Coupe, Fiat, 2013, 500 Abarth, $20,000 - $29,999, Subcompact,

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