Fiat 500 Lounge Hatchback 2-door on 2040-cars
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Auto blogMon, 30 Dec 2013
While American drivers may know Fiat principally (if not exclusively) for the 500, overseas the Italian marque offers a much broader range of products. But the Cinquecento has developed into a vastly more successful product than the rest of its lineup, so the Italian automaker has been rapidly replacing its slow-selling models by expanding the 500 family.
The original 500 hatchback has since been joined by the 500C convertible and larger 500L - not to mention the 500L Living seven-seater, 500e electric hatchback and numerous Abarth models. And soon, the Sedici is expected to be replaced by a new 500X. But that's not the end of it.
A new report from Auto Express indicates that Fiat is preparing to replace the slow-selling and rapidly aging Punto with a new five-door version of the 500. The model could adapt the current Punto's platform rather than stretching the 500's, but would carry the same retro styling as the rest of the Cinquecento range, slotting in between the three-door hatch and the larger 500L. Of course, the Punto was never offered Stateside, but as part of the 500 family, it figures to stand a better chance.
The merged Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is targeting October 13 to launch its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange, CEO Sergio Marchionne told reporters assembled for a meeting in Rimini, Italy.
"The most likely date for the listing in the US is October 13," Marchionne said, according to Reuters.
Marchionne is trusting that the money made in the IPO will be contribute heavily his ambitious, $64-billion five-year growth plan, which will see FCA reboot Alfa Romeo and Maserati and expand Jeep's global presence. Should the IPO fall short, though, Marchionne has confirmed that "all decision [sic] on any capital increase will be taken by the board of FCA at the end of October."
Chrysler will now become a wholly owned member of the Fiat family, as it's been announced that the 41.46-percent stake in the Auburn Hills, MI-based manufacturer owned by the United Auto Workers' VEBA trust fund will be sold to the Italian company. Concluding the agreement will mark the closure of a piecemeal purchase process that could have resulted in an initial public offering.
The total cost of the sale will see the VEBA healthcare trust receive $4.35 billion, $3.65 billion of which will come from Fiat. $1.75 billion of that will be cash, while an additional $1.9 billion will be part of a "special distribution." An additional $700 million will be paid over four separate installments according to reports from Automotive News Europe and USA Today, although the shares will belong to Fiat following the first payment. The deal was reportedly initially struck on Sunday (though it is just being announced today), and is being portrayed as particularly good news for Fiat and Chrysler, which have now prevented the remaining shares going to the stock market in a UAW-forced IPO.
"The unified ownership structure will now allow us to fully execute our vision of creating a global automaker that is truly unique in terms of mix of experience, perspective and know-how, a solid and open organization that will ensure all employees a challenging and rewarding environment," Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said in a statement.