Fiat 500 and Abarth 595 safe in Australia

Despite their advanced age, the Fiat 500 and Abarth 595 will continue to be sold in Australia even as a new side-impact regulation claims the life of other older vehicles.

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William Stopford
William Stopford
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The ageing Fiat 500 and its sporty Abarth 595 twin won’t be victims of a new regulation that’s led to the axing of other vehicles.

The regulation in question is ADR 85/00 – Pole Side Impact Performance, which comes into effect for all passenger cars on sale in Australia on November 1, 2021.

“Both the Fiat 500 hatch and Abarth 595 hatch will be updated to meet compliance regulations,” said a spokesperson from Stellantis Australia.

“We do not anticipate production disruptions for the Fiat 500 hatch; however, there may be a slight interruption to the supply of the Abarth 595 hatch.”

While that statement doesn’t make mention of the convertible 500 and 595, Stellantis Australia has released pricing in the past few weeks for model year 2022 convertibles.

ADR 85/00 first came into effect on November 1, 2017, but vehicles already on sale at that time were effectively grandfathered in.

With the November 1, 2021 deadline fast approaching, however, a number of manufacturers have been forced to discontinue vehicles in Australia.

Lexus announced earlier this year it was axing the CT, IS and RC instead of performing structural updates, while the Alpine A110 and Nissan GT-R will also be withdrawn from the Australian market.

Mitsubishi has yet to confirm whether it’s discontinuing the venerable Mirage, though it’s confirmed the even older ASX is unaffected.

The new ADR was announced back in 2015, and was the first time Australia led development of a global vehicle standard.

“This ADR is based on United Nations Global Technical Regulation (GTR) 14, which sets strict performance criteria for light passenger and commercial vehicles in side impacts with a narrow object such as a pole,” said Minister for Major Projects Paul Fletcher at the time.

“However, it will also improve occupant protection in other side impacts, including car-to-car impacts.”

The new regulation is affecting some of the older vehicles on sale in Australia, and the 500/595 twins can definitely be classified as such.

The current car was first revealed in 2007 and received a largely cosmetic update in 2016.

Production continues at Fiat’s Tychy, Poland plant for markets like Europe and Australia, despite the end of production in Toluca, Mexico for other markets and the introduction of an all-new, all-electric 500 in 2020.

That new car has yet to be confirmed for Australia, and continues to be exclusive to the European market.

The 595 line is now the only one sold by Abarth in Australia, following the discontinuation of the 124 Spider.

The 500, meanwhile, is one of just two vehicles still sold here under the Fiat nameplate. The large Ducato van is the other, with Fiat axing the Doblo and 500X for 2021.

Fiat sold 520 examples of its 500/595 twins in 2020. That made it the third best-selling micro car in Australia which, although a podium finish, made it Australia’s worst-selling micro car as it only has two rivals.

It was bested by the Kia Picanto (3891) and Mitsubishi Mirage (594).

The somewhat conceptually similar but much larger and more expensive Mini hatch, in contrast, logged 1613 sales.

MORE: Everything Fiat 500
MORE: Everything Abarth 595

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William Stopford
William Stopford
William Stopford is a Journalist at CarExpert.
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