Details emerge on next-gen Fiat 500

The next 500 might be a little longer and wider to increase its appeal to U.S. consumers.

Fiat is currently developing a successor to the seven-year old 500, and a new report gives us a better idea of what to expect when the city car arrives in showrooms in 2016.

The next 500 will follow the path blazed by BMW's MINI Cooper and gain evolutionary styling updates rather than an entirely new look.

"It's very important to keep the car as it is like some evergreen products. The Vespa. The Leica camera. Something that is good enough to remain in the hands or in the usage of the people in exactly the same condition," explained Roberto Giolito, the head of Fiat's European design department.

The next 500 will be offered exclusively as a three-door hatchback. Fiat will likely make it marginally longer and wider in order to boost its appeal in the United States, the car's largest market outside of Europe, but the next 500 won't be noticeably bigger than the current model.

Fiat is plotting a larger five-door hatch with a 500-inspired design that will slot in between the entry-level hatchback and the family-focused 500L. Expected to ride on the Dodge Dart's Compact U.S. Wide platform, the car could wear the Punto nameplate and take on the recently-introduced MINI Hardtop five-door.

Fiat will offer the next 500 with a highly-customizable interior in order to fend off competition from Opel and Renault. The next 500 will also be available with a touch screen-based infotainment system, a feature not available on the current model.

An earlier report published in the print edition of trade journal Automotive News finds Fiat might take advantage of the new model's arrival to shift production to Tychy, Poland. The move would boost productivity in Europe and clear up much-needed production capacity for high-volume models in Toluca, Mexico, where U.S.- and China-bound 500s are currently built.

Official details about the next 500 will begin to emerge next year. The car will debut as a three-door hatchback, and the Abarth and C-badged convertible variants will gradually arrive before the end of the decade.

Photo by Ronan Glon.

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