When it launched in the U.S. back in late 2010, the current Fiat 500 marked the return of the storied Italian brand to these shores.

The little three-door hatchback gave buyers another retro small car in the vein of the BMW-built Mini Cooper.

But six years later, the 500 is fairly old by industry standards, and it faces a market that has shunned small cars in favor of SUVs.

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That may explain why Fiat is cutting prices on certain 500 variants for the 2017 model year.

Fiat will slash the 500's base price, and lower prices for the 500C convertible model across the board, reports Automotive News (subscription required).

The industry trade journal cites a pricing document sent to Fiat dealers this month.

2017 Fiat 500S

2017 Fiat 500S

According to the document, the starting price of the base 500 Pop trim level will drop from $17,990 to $15,990 (both prices include destination).

The document also reportedly shows that Fiat will have fewer trim levels, and is attempting to curtail instances where prices of similar cars overlap each other.

One example of this, argues Automotive News, is Fiat's move to lower the price of the convertible option to $1,495 on all 500 trim levels.

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This reduces the price of the top Abarth Cabrio performance model from $27,690 to $22,485—a $5,205 decrease.

Fiat may have dropped the 500C convertible's price in order to distance it from the new 124 Spider convertible sports car.

The 124 Spider is based on the Mazda MX-5 Miata and is built by Mazda in Japan, but uses Fiat powertrains and features styling reminiscent of the original 124 Spider from the 1960s. It starts at $25,990.

2017 Fiat 500 Abarth Cabriolet

2017 Fiat 500 Abarth Cabriolet

The 500 remains the core model in Fiat's lineup, though, and it is an aging design.

The current-generation 500 has been on sale in the U.S. since 2010, but actually launched in Europe almost a decade ago, in 2007.

MORE: 2016 Fiat 500 Updates Include Uconnect Touchscreen, Styling Tweaks (Jul 2015)

Fiat made some small styling and content changes for the 2016 model year.

In addition to the 500, 500C, and 124 Spider, Fiat sells the 500L tall wagon and 500X crossover in the U.S.

2017 Fiat 124 Spider

2017 Fiat 124 Spider

The 500X shares its underpinnings with the Jeep Renegade, but has decidedly different styling and a greater emphasis on on-road driving dynamics.

Fiat also sells an electric version of the 500 called the 500e, but only in California and Oregon.

The 500e is a "compliance car" built purely to satisfy California's zero-emission vehicle mandate, which requires automakers with certain sales volumes to sell zero-emission cars in the state.


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