MONROEVILLE (KDKA) — An Italian auto maker that left the American market nearly 30 years ago is returning.

Soon, a Pittsburgh area car dealer will become the first to sell the cars locally.

The Italian Fiat is coming back to the United States. The Fiat 500, seen as a fuel efficient compact, first hit U.S. shores in 1957.

Fiats were last sold domestically in 1983. They gained popularity during the energy crisis of the 1970s.

“Well, Fiats, they specialize in small cars and certainly the industry is evolving to where it’s going to be small car heavy with what’s happening with fuel economy and the cafe standards,” Rob Cochran, owner of #1 Cochran, said. “So we’re very excited, we’re very excited to be the first Fiat dealer in Pittsburgh.”

Cochran, whose dealership is one of 130 nationwide to sell the Fiats, says Fiat’s merger with Chrysler and the current economic climate may make the time ripe for its return.

They’re getting a Fiat studio ready on William Penn Highway in Monroeville.

“Gas mileage certainly is first and foremost and then with what we see coming forward with the fuel standards from the government, the manufacturers are going to have to be more and more focused on fuel economy so Fiat being an Italian and European company, they’re a few steps ahead of the curve already,” Cochran said.

The Fiat studio is set to open in October.

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