Fiat to Introduce Abarth 500
With a glorious past, yesterday’s winning passion perseveres today: it’s the concept that drives the relaunch of the Abarth brand. Forever synonymous with cars that have backbone, seek challenges, passion and strong emotions, the scorpion has returned to make people dream with a new line of sports cars.
The novelty is the reconfiguring, in a modern setting, of all its Abarth & Co.’s past activities starting from racing, to prototypes, to kits for transforming cars and arriving at true and proper style accessories; the expression of an authentic philosophy for sporty living.
In other words, around the Abarth brand is a real world hinging on the core values that led to its success in past decades: design innovation, using cutting edge material, and care for details. The Abarth aura has already been applied to the Grande Punto and in the future, the revived scorpion will be expanded to other models beginning with the 500 in summer 2008.
BMW Group and FGA sign Memorandum of Understanding
July 8, 2008, Turin/Munich - The BMW Group and Fiat Group Automobiles (FGA) are considering the possibility of co-operation in the areas of components and architectures for their Mini and Alfa Romeo vehicles. As part of possible cooperation, BMW Group will provide FGA with support in launching the Alfa Romeo brand in the North American market.
A Memorandum of Understanding to this effect has been signed by Friedrich Eichiner, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Corporate and Brand Development, and Alfredo Altavilla, Senior Vice President, Business Development, Fiat Group Automobiles and CEO of Fiat Powertrain Technologies.
"We are currently examining with the Fiat Group possibilities for the joint use of components and systems in Mini and Alfa Romeo vehicles in order to achieve economies of scale and thus cost reductions within the framework of our Number ONE strategy", Eichiner said on Monday in Munich.
Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Group and Fiat Group Automobiles, said: “The proposed co-operation with BMW is a significant cornerstone of our strategy of alliances. We are delighted to work with such an esteemed and respected partner in the automotive industry with the clear objective of improving the competitive position of both parties.”
The two partners have agreed not to divulge details of the possible collaboration. The results of the cooperation discussions will probably be achieved by the end of the year.
500: the manifesto of the ‘new Fiat’
Enter the new 500, the manifesto of the ‘new Fiat’, a model that represents to all intents and purposes the materialization of a new approach, of new brand strategies, and a different approach to the car. Exactly 50 years after the launch of the first edition of the model, which was to become an icon of Italian motoring and of an entire period of history, Fiat is accelerating into the future.
Anyone could re-edit the 500, because its shape is part of our collective memory. Some industrial objects that were the fruit of Italian creativeness in the period after the war, like the 500 or the Vespa, cannot be judged purely in aesthetic terms, nor do they represent just a good engineering exercise in which form serves a function. On the contrary, they are powerful catalysts, revolutionary in their design and in the concept that defines common reference points and benchmarks. When this happens, the result is a masterpiece that is an essential part of industrial history. The 500 is one of them.
This is a story that has taken place twice. The first is the story of a very large number of owners, fans and enthusiasts who promoted the car’s image as a good, reliable and economical vehicle, which became an expression of a part of their lives, the best part, evoking a carefree spirit and a lack of worries. The 500 is linked to these memories, to strong friendships and first loves, it evokes images of a positive past which many would like to revive.
Dante Giacosa’s 500 was
launched on July 4, 1957, as a cycle of rebirth was closing after the
devastation of war, and a period of radical renewal of the company’s product
range was also coming to an end, opening the way for a cycle of successes in
the coming decade, a period that we can consider one of the brightest in the
brand’s one hundred year history. The parallel with the new 500 is clear; it
concludes the cycle of extraordinary rebirth of recent years, but thanks to its
stylistic and technological features, it also represents the spark of a lasting
process of expansion. And this is where history starts again.
It would be
belittling to ‘limit’ the phenomenon of the new 500 to a simple, nostalgic
reinterpretation. Fiat’s goal has not been to design a car that ‘looks like’ a
500, but one that ‘could be’ the 500 again. The new 500 opens the way for an
innovative process in a number of environments that are very significant for
today’s customers, clearly outlining where its ambitions lie in relation to the
future positioning of the Fiat brand. The Fiat 500 respects the original
concept in its shape and function, as you expect in these cases, so that it can
evoke all the emotions and memories that make all ‘icons’ eternal, raising them
beyond the limiting dimension of their category.
But first and
foremost it is important to underline the innovations that the new model is
able to bring to this class of product for the first time.
First of all,
the widespread involvement in the development of the model and of the marketing
plan, with the participation of over 3,000,000 enthusiasts who have submitted
their ideas to the project, through the platform "500wantsyou". This
initiative is a new cultural approach to relations between manufacturer and
client, making Fiat one of the most open organizations, close to the
expectations of the public. ‘The 500, the car of the people, by the people’:
this slogan sums up the philosophy behind the development of a project which,
in the best Fiat tradition, ‘democratizes’ access to contents and technologies
that have never been offered in this segment before.
It is the
first time that a car has been launched with the full range of engines (69 bhp
1.2. 75 bhp 1.3 Multijet with DPF and 100 bhp 1.4 16v) ready to meet the
emissions limits set by Euro 5 standards, more than two years before the
legislative deadline, a tangible sign of Fiat’s determination to reaffirm its
leadership where the environment is concerned.
It is also the
first time that a compact car (3.55 meters) has been built to achieve a 5-star
rating in the EuroNCAP impact tests, and it is ready for the 6-star test if and
when the new rating is introduced.
Safety at all costs, with no impact on prices, a bold decision, which confirms Fiat’s intention of extending its strategy of leadership to vehicle protection, totally consistent with decisions taken in recent years as regards the Panda and the Croma, right through to the Grande Punto and the Bravo.
It is a safe product, not only for its structural sturdiness, but also because of the choices made in the construction of the range of outfits and services: 7 airbags as standard equipment (it is the only compact to offer a kneebag), and an advanced ESP available with all engines (standard on the 100 bhp 1.4 16v), are absolute novelties in this segment.
It is the first ‘small’ car to offer so much in the way of content: 4 specification levels, 3 engines at the launch, 12 colors, including 6 vintage colors that will bring the 1950s and 1960s to mind, plus tri-coat white produced by a process that is usually only adopted on luxury cars, 15 types of upholstery including luxurious Cordura and Frau Leather, 9 types of wheel rims, and 19 types of stickers, making a total of more than 500,000 variants (549,936 to be precise); the most interesting include the electric fragrance diffuser, with a choice of 3 different fragrances, and colored key cases, an approach similar to that in the mobile phone market that lets you match the color of the key to that of the bodywork, or to select another pattern of your own choosing. There has never been such a lavish array of accessories on such an accessible car.
The 500 is an
inclusive not an exclusive concept and Fiat felt that this was the best way to
meet the tastes of all its potential customers, without distinction, from the
most minimalist to the most eccentric. The idea of creating a product that
could adapt to the needs of the individual was also expressed in the decision
to surpass all the competition in the process of incorporating electronic
technologies into the passenger compartment (Plug In). A second generation Blue&Me is available, and an iPod can be easily
incorporated thanks to the socket and the battery charger. A new portable
navigator was developed specially for the 500 with Magneti Marelli, which is
fitted directly on the dashboard and connects to other vehicle functions.
The concept of customization is not limited to the product, but extends to the world of services and forms of payment. For example, with the ‘500 Cents’ and ‘50to500’ formulas from Fiat Group Automobiles Financial Services, the customer will be able to purchase any version of the 500 including customization, for ¤ 5 a day, and with no down payment, or to pay 50% of the sum immediately and the remainder after 2 years.
And every time that a customer takes out one of the above loans he will benefit from a 5 year/500,000 km manufacturer’s warranty and other services that Fiat is offering for the first time, and which envisage complete 24-hour roadside service. And when it is time for periodical maintenance, the car will be picked up from the customer’s home, and his mobility will be guaranteed by the reimbursement of any taxi fares.
Plenty of offers and possibilities, because the 500 must be the car for everyone: it is the car of the people, made by the people, for the people. The 500 is the ‘New Fiat’ and the ‘New Fiat’ belongs to everyone.
For the company, the birth of the 500 represents the start of a new chapter, a declaration of the role that Fiat aims to interpret in the future on the market and in society. The stimulus to a new model of conscious consumption. A model for the exploitation of experience in the automotive field that focuses on quality and emotions, on uniqueness rather than on mass-production, where simplification does not mean doing without. The 500 is the tangible synthesis of these aspirations.
With the 500, Fiat smiles at the future.
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