The Fiat brand will be re-launched in the US at the Los Angeles auto show in November, nearly 28 years after the Italian carmaker ended sales in North America.
The firm is expected to unveil the federalised version of their Fiat 500 city car in both hatchback and cabrio forms. Although Fiat is said to be looking for dealers in 41 states, there’s no news as to what further Fiat models will be sold in the US.
Fiat, which now has effective control of Chrysler Jeep, has had a long association with the US, establishing a factory in the country as long ago as 1908. But it pulled the plug on sales in January 1983 after selling just 14,113 vehicles in 1982.
By 1982 only the Fiat Strada was offered in the US, alongside the 124 Spider (which had been on sale in the US since 1968) and X1/9 mid-engined roadster.
At the point Fiat exited the US, X1/9 production was handed over to Bertone in 1982 and imports continued into America until 1987 by which time the model was 15 years old. The Spider continued as the Pininfarina Spider Azzura in the US until 1985.
Fiat has also something of an image-building job to do in America. Despite its long absence from the new car market, the company's 2009 takeover of Chrysler was met by some amazement in the US, where Fiat’s old reputation for poor quality is still remembered, alongside its widely used US nickname ‘Fix It Again, Toni’.