However Autocar has reported Fiat's Abarth division could have negotiated a deal with Lotus to produce its first standalone model in over 30 years, based on the Elise.
The project should be complete by as soon as 2011, with the end result a predictable lightweight, two-seater sports coupe to take the flagship role above the existing Fiat 500 and Punto-based models.
Sure to boast all-new styling to differentiate itself from the Elise, it will also feature the next generation of turbo-charged direct-injection four-cylinder engines from Fiat which promise high power, high torque and low emissions.
This should translate to roughly 180kW in a car which weighs in at around 900kg.
Abarth CEO Luca de Meo had previously denied claims of a stand-alone model, simply due to a lack of resources.
“Maybe one day we can develop a model that is just an Abarth for Abarth,” he said. “We might have this one day, but we don’t have the in-house resources to do that today.”
However early reports suggest this obstacle has been overcome by enlisting Lotus engineers to contribute to the project, thereby eliminating the cost, time and resources associated with developing an all-new chassis.