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Fiat Confirms Six-Speed 500 Abarth : News

Those who didn't know how to row their own gears can enjoy the burbling sound of the 2015 Fiat Abarth's exhaust system from the driver's seat, as the automaker has announced the 2015 Fiat Abarth and Turbo models will be available with an automatic transmission.

The scorpion-stamped Abarth and Turbo models were previously only available with a five-speed manual transmission, but in an effort to increase sales and broaden appeal, the hot hatches will now be offered with the Aisin six-speed automatic. The Abarth, which was first introduced in 2012, accounts for about 15 percent of Fiat 500 sales, but now that it will be available with an automatic, the automaker hopes those numbers will increase. Jason Stoicevich, head of the brand in North America, told Automotive News that the lack of the automatic transmission is the biggest reason customers don't buy the Abarth. The exec even said adding the transmission could account to a 50-percent sales increase for the high-performance models. Before adding a six-speed automatic to the options list, the automaker's latest attempt at making the car more attractive was the addition of the 500 Abarth Cabrio. When the Abarth was first introduced in 2012, it was a huge hit, and dealers weren't able to keep up with customer orders. Now, Fiat 500 sales (8473 units sold through March) are down 12 percent compared to the same period last year. Fiat is also adding a 7-inch display screen to the instrument cluster of certain versions of the 500 for the 2015 model year.

The six-speed automatic will be paired with the Abarth's 1.4-liter turbo-four cylinder engine that makes 160-hp and 170-lb ft of torque, or the Turbo which is powered by the same mill that's been tuned to put out 135 hp and 150 lb-ft of torque. The 2015 models will go into production in July, which means they should be arriving in dealerships shortly thereafter.

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Sources : 500 Abarth Photo | 500 Abarth Article

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