Speaking with Bloomberg, Fiat's Olivier Francois said that the new model will be "related" to the 500, suggesting that the wagon could bear significant styling differences to avoid diluting the image of the iconic Bambino.
The wagon will target the US market, Francois says, pointing to lacklustre sales performance for the existing three-door 500 models. In its first year in the US, just 26,000 cars were sold - around half of Fiat's forecast.
Francois and Fiat group boss Sergio Marchionne expect the increased interior space and storage capacity of a new 500-based five-door wagon to boost the car's appeal for US buyers.
In a frank concession, the outspoken Marchionne told reporters at Detroit earlier this month: "We thought we were going to show up and just because people like gelato and pasta, they will buy it. This is nonsense".
Talk of a five-door 500 has been circulating for some years now, with reports of a 'Giardiniera' softroader wagon expected back in 2010.
According to industry paper Automotive News, the five-door 500 is known internally as the L0, and will be classified in Europe as a 'small minivan'.
While the new model will target the US, it will likely be offered in Europe and in overseas markets, including Australia.
Image credit: Quattroruote.it
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