This is the eighth model Fiat/Chrysler Group has in the 2011 Top Safety Pick selections so far, and the 500 joins the only other small car in the 2011 Top Safety Pick, the Ford Fiesta.
The Fiat 500 didn't previously make the IIHS's Top Safety Pick category however. Fiat only recently revised the front seating for improved safety, which helped it nudge ahead this time around. Fiat recently said,
"Introduced earlier this year, the Fiat 500 has seven standard airbags for enhanced passenger protection. Reactive head restraints that deploy in the event of a rear collision to minimise the space between the driver and passenger’s head and the front head restraints also are standard. High strength steel door beams offer additional protection in the event of a side impact."
Fiat is hoping the Fiat 500 will really lift sales and brand awareness in the US, and at the same time bolster Chrysler's presence in the market by providing the brand with a small, fuel-efficient hatch, as opposed to its otherwise large vehicle line-up.