Fiat is going back to its roots with an all-new Cinquecento, with funky retro styling borrowed from the enormously popular, bubble-shaped Nuova 500 (right), of which more than three million were made between 1957 and 1975.
The new model, exposed in our artist’s impression (above) was given the go-ahead in August and will appear at the Geneva show in March 2004. Though based on the Panda, it will be a distinct model with its own name, in much the same way the Citroën C2 takes the place of a more conventional C3 three-door. Fiat is designing in what it calls ‘characterisation’, similar to the recently reborn Mini and Beetle, with rounded exterior surfaces and a classy cabin finish.
Although the model currently has no name, Cinquecento is the most popular choice, insiders disclose. However, Fiat could choose to revive Topolino (little mouse), the nickname given to the original front-engine/rear-drive 500C microcar.
Despite its tiny 3.4m length – the same as the original Panda – Fiat claims the new car’s well-equipped cabin will have enough room for four passengers. Outside, the cheeky looks are penned entirely by Fiat Centro Stile, with strong input from design chief Umberto Rodriguez and Roberto Giolito, the man behind the Ecobasic concept of 1999.