Fast Fiats are returning with a vengence as Italian giant resurrects its sporting division

Fiat has finally confirmed that it is relaunching Abarth, its tuning division and the creator of some of the fastest Fiats around.The first official Abarth product will be the Grande Punto, first shown at Geneva earlier in 2007, and then at Frankfurt. That car will go on sale in Italy this month, and then in further markets in 2008. A further three new Abarth models will join the Punto by the end of 2008. These are likely to include an Abarth 500, and possibly a new open-top sports car to rival the Mazda MX-5.Along with souped-up cars, there are plans for Abarth to return to the world of motorsport. This will include a one-make series, to be based around the new Punto Abarth, and the preparation of cars for private customers, including for rallying.Those tuning operations won't be restricted to the race track, either. Abarth plans to make conversion kits and bolt-on modifications for more prosaic Fiats, as part of its expansion plans. A line of Abarth merchandising is also on the way.The new Abarth is not just a division of Fiat, either; it will be a stand-alone brand, distinct from but owned by the Italian giant. New facilities are being readied for Abarth at Fiat's Mirafiori plant, which will house the company’s manufacturing, design and management divisions. The new company is being led by CEO Luca De Meo, formally Fiat brand boss. We can't wait to try the first of Abarth's new products - if the Punto Abarth is anything like as good to drive as it is to look at, we're in for a treat.

For full details of the new Punto Abarth, click here

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