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by Tim Beissmann

Italian tuner Abarth is set for a major expansion in the near future with a stand-alone model due within two years and production of performance kits to expand to Alfa Romeo vehicles.

Abarth sales and marketing chief, Antonio Labate, told Autocar that strong sales of around 22,000 units since the company’s rebirth in 2008 had driven it to look beyond its current offerings.

“The brand is doing so well that we plan to start producing more performance kits for Fiats, and even some Alfa Romeo models,” Mr Labate said.

“We won’t be working with the Mito since Alfa already has the Cloverleaf, but there are lots of other possibilities.”

Abarth’s stand-alone car, set to be a rival to the Mazda MX-5 and upcoming MINI Coupe, will be a two-seater and possibly mid-engined, although Mr Labate ruled out any Lotus involvement in the car’s development or platform.

Before that vehicle arrives, Abarth will launch Esseesse (pronounced SS for Super Sport) versions of the Fiat 500C and Punto Evo in November, with the 500C to match the Esseesse hatch with 117kW and the Punto Evo to step up to 134kW.

Meanwhile, another Alfa-related story caught our attention today.

With the knowledge that Alfa Romeo is planning to launch two SUVs within the next four years, one punter from the Czech Republic decided to give the Italians a few tips for the future, displaying his rebadged BMW X1 alongside more than 2500 Alfas at the marque’s 100th birthday celebrations in Milan.

Surprisingly the man was allowed to park his tape-cover “Kamal” at the festival, and while we commend the audacity, we hope his take is a far cry from that of Alfa’s designers.




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