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Fiat 500
Fiat 500
Chrysler's product plan calls for a subcompact hatchback from Fiat to enter the market late next year.

Chrysler could redesign the 500 a little and rebadge it as a Chrysler, but that probably wouldn't make a lot of sense.

"I don't think they want to, because everybody loves that damned thing," said James Bell, publisher of the Automotive website Intellichoice.com

It also would also mean a lot of work to make this car anything other than a Fiat. The design is supposed to remind you of the cars you might have seen driving around Rome in the 1960s. Slapping a Chrysler badge on it just wouldn't make sense.

Chrysler's plan also calls for a plug-in electric mini car from Fiat to come out shortly before the gasoline-powered one. That could be a 500, or 500-based vehicle, as well.

While the Fiat may look cute, though, it's much smaller than most cars Americans are used to. It's about six inches shorter than a Mini Cooper.

The 500 feels bigger once you're inside it, though, said Matt Stone, executive editor of Motor Trend magazine. You don't sit as low to the ground and there's more glass to see out of than in the Mini.

"I think people would totally dig it," he said. "It's terminally cute."

NEXT: Fiat Panda

Last updated April 30 2009: 1:08 PM ET
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