The Fiat 500 isn’t exactly what you’d call a sexy car; far from it, actually. Cute, yes, but not sexy…
But even with its rather simplistic design, the 500 is still an attractive car. In fact, it’s attractive enough for Italian design house, Castaga Milano, to build a unique, beach-ready design called the Tender2.
First introduced back in 2008, the 500 Tender2 is now headed to the U.S. and it has a number of new updates to go with the unique set of features it already had.
As the first car Castagna Milano is shipping to the US in almost 60 years, the one-off designed 500 Tender2 is quite a doozy of a compact hatchback. It’s been chopped up and rebuilt to look like a beach comber, complete with a yacht-like wood veneer, champagne cooler, narrow wood decks in place of doors, a pair of touchscreen units and, apparently, a shower.
It also features an electrically operated ladder in the rear and a bespoke luggage set, ensuring that this one-off creation remains as such: a dynamic one-of-a-kind.
A big congratulations to the man, Bert Dewik, who decided to have this 500 built. He reportedly paid quite a pretty penny for it to the tune of $104,000. But for the chance of owning a car nobody will ever have, we’d say that’s a pretty good deal.
Just a few days ago, we reported that Mazda and Fiat have joined forces to jointly produce a new sports car based on the upcoming redesigned MX-5 Miata. Fiat would use this opportunity to revive the once popular Alfa Romeo Spider, the car whose shoes the MX-5 filled back in 1990. This could not only revive the Spider overseas, but it could also bring Alfa Romeo back into the U.S. market at a reasonable price.
Recently, at a Chrysler event, a reporter from Reuters learned that this relationship may go even further than simply jointly manufacturing a sports car. The report states that Fiat is also open to allowing Mazda to use Chrysler plants to manufacture their North America-bound cars. This would obviously help Mazda a great deal, as importing cars from Japan to North American countries is extremely expensive and drives up the cars’ MSRPs, which in turn drives customers out of dealerships.
There is nothing official, but we could see something like the Ford-Mazda partnership that started in 1979 and effectively ended in 2010. This would result in various joint-ventures between Fiat, Chrysler, Alfa Romeo, and Mazda, making the group one that rivals Volkswagen Auto Group, though a tad less luxurious and expensive. The advancements across the board, however, would be similar.
After some tough times, Mazda finally saw some gains in 2011, as its market share increased 9 percent that year, but it needs more to remain afloat. Mazda should see some additional increases over the next few year regardless, as the RX-8, which was down 33 percent in 2011, is being discontinued and the Miata, which was down 11 percent, is being significantly redesigned. A little added boost from a production-cost sharing venture with Fiat and Chrysler could do nothing but help all three rebounding brands and reinvent Alfa Romeo in the U.S.
Now that Alfa Romeo is set to return to North American after a lengthy absence, Fiat is looking at a number of measures on how it plans to return to the US and Canada with a bang as well.
One option that the Italian automaker is planning on pursuing is building a ’more affordable’ sports car to compliment the Alfa Romeo 4C soon after the latter is released in 2013. Word is that this affordable sports car will be built as an Abarth, one that is being pegged to take on a market heavyweight like the Mazda MX-5 Miata. Easier as that is said than it is done, Fiat understands that the Alfa Romeo 4C might not be up to the budget of a lot of American consumers, especially considering that the car is already being touted as a possible rival to a couple of Porsche sports cars: the Cayman and the Boxster.
Should Fiat push forward and build a front-wheel drive sports car under Abarth, we expect it to carry an output of somewhere around 200 horsepower, possibly even going up north to 250. No details have been made as far as what the car is going to look like, but we’d love it if the Italian automaker brushes off an old Abarth classic - the 1968 Scorpione - and build a modern-day take on what we consider one of the sexiest sports cars of the 60’s. That or they could just make some modifications on the Abarth Scorp-Ion Concept that we saw earlier this year.
The Fiat line-up that’s headed to the 2011 Bologna Motor Show will also include a special edition 500 model that has been designed to commemorate the car’s introduction to the US market.
The special edition Fiat 500 model is called the "Nation Limited Edition" and it will come in hard-top and cabrio trims. As far as the former is concerned, Fiat dressed it up in an "America Blue" exterior paint finish and it comes with a bevy of unique trims, including a "Stars & Stripes" package on the sides and on the mirror casings, and a new set of 16" alloy wheels.
Meanwhile, the 500C version will come in a "Tri-Coat White" exterior paint finish and will also feature the same "Stars & Stripes" package on the sides and the mirror casings, as well as a new set of 16" alloy wheels. A different wrinkle on the 500C is the red soft-top roof, further enhancing the color scheme of the car as a celebration of our beloved land.
Powertrain figures for both the 500 and 500C remains the same - a 1.4-liter, in-line four-cylinder engine with state-of-the-art MultiAir technology that delivers 101 horsepower and 98 lb/ft of torque - although customers who opt for the 500C will have to shell out more money to be able to buy one.
Both models will be limited to 500 units apiece with the hard-top version coming with a price tag of €14,500, which is about $19,500 based on current exchange rates. As for the 500C, that one will cost you €18,000, which when converted, hits $24,200.
When we buy a car, we want it to make us feel special. Now that the Fiat 500C has hit our shores, it’s easy to see that this convertible has excelled in this aspect. It combines the fun of a convertible and the ease of use of a compact car. You feel so happy when driving the 500C it should be categorized as an anti depressant. With such a cheap and cheerful car, you would expect it be made of plastic and have the same cosmetic qualities as an outhouse. As soon as you peek inside and out, you are amazed.
The 2012 Fiat 500C promises all the fun and style of the Fiat 500 with a convertible drop top that lets you soak up the glorious sunshine. The amazing thing is a fully loaded 2012 Fiat 500 C is the same price as a base model MINI convertible. We just looked up thew word value in the dictionary and not surprisingly, it showed a picture of the 2012 Fiat 500C.
Details on the Fiat 500C after the jump.
With the increasing number of tuned-up and special edition Fiat 500s being released recently, it didn’t really come as a surprise to us that Fiat was going to do something unique with the 500 to introduce itself to the US market.
And wouldn’t you know it, they actually did.
The setting was the four-day Exhibitalia event in Miami where Fiat was on hand to participate in its first American art exhibit. During the four-day event, the Italian automaker displayed an array of vintage and new Fiat 500 models, showcasing the model’s iconic Italian design.
Fiat’s involvement at the Exhibitalia event at the Art Basel in Miami also included the participation of a number of renowned artists and two student teams from the University of Miami, all of whom worked on the car as their “inspiration and canvas” in the creation of their artworks. While others opted to create designs using certain body panels of the little hatchback, one such artist – Christian Balzano – decided to use the whole car and turn it into his own personal Fiat 500 Art car.
As far as US debuts are concerned, you have to hand it to Fiat for doing its part to ensure splashy debut for their popular 500 hatchback.
Short Press Release after the jump.
Fiat had high hopes for the 500 city car in the US, and their faith was rewarded tenfold after the first batch of their little compact hatchback was scooped up faster than even they anticipated.
Chrysler has announced that the limited edition “500 Prima Edizione” – yep, all 500 of them – have been sold. That means that if you were thinking of getting any one of the three colors offered – Blanco White, Grigio Gray, or Rosso Red - well, tough luck. On the other hand, hope is not lost, as Fiat - via Chrysler - will begin accepting orders for the standard 500 beginning in the early part of next year. Interested buyers will also get the chance to pick whatever trim of the 500 they like the most, including the Sport, Pop, or Lounge trims with the 500C scheduled to be released in 2011.
Laura Stove, Head of Fiat brand North America, was excited about the reception the 500 has received in the US. “It’s important that the Fiat enthusiasts and fans are among the first to receive their very own Fiat 500 Prima Edizione special edition vehicles, as they share the same excitement about the brand’s presence in North America," she said.
"As we begin to introduce Fiat to North America, our goal is to develop a solid relationship with our customers so they are made to feel as part of the brand.”
Clearly, the strong reception received by the 500 in the US is a pretty good start for Fiat and the Italian brand is hoping that it’s a sign for more good things to come .
Chrysler is ready to attack the Mini Cooper with its U.S. version of the Fiat 500 Sport, and they are not holding back. The Fiat 500 will be offered in Sport, Pop, and Lounge models, all available for order later this year. Wait until our beautiful spring in 2011 and Chrysler will also throw in a Cabrio version.
The only model Chrysler gave specific details on was the Fiat 500 Sport and with that information we now know that the Sport will come with new front and rear fascias, a larger grille, and a flared aerodynamic treatment. The exterior is showcased with 16-inch aluminum wheels with Mineral Gray painted pockets, performance red painted brake calipers, a chromed exhaust tip, and gloss black shadow-line window trim. Customers may not see a Cabrio until 2011, but with the Sport, customers will be able to gaze out of their SkyDome power sun roof.
Under the hood there will be a new 1.4-liter engine with Fiat’s state-of-the-art MultiAir technology giving it an improved fuel economy.
As for the last two models, Fiat has only mentioned that they will come with "unique exterior cues and different equipment options."
Press release after the jump.
After a long and lengthy absence, Fiat is finally returning to the US, and they’re bringing with them the 500 hatchback. The US-spec version of the minicar, which will be sold in the US through Chrysler, is set to make its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November, giving us a first-hand look at Fiat’s first offering to the US market after an extended absence in the country.
Earlier this week, the Italian auto conglomerate hosted a meeting with 400 of its car dealers to gauge the amount of interest for the 500 in America. Apart from these dealerships, Chrysler is also looking at opening about 165 Fiat dealerships across the country, more specifically in areas where there is a healthy market for small hatchbacks that the 1.4-liter 500 hatchback can take full advantage of.
According to Laura Soave, Head of Fiat Brand North America, “Our dealers will be able to interact with a group of individuals that are not part of their current customer base.”
“These are individuals interested in Italian automotive design coupled with fuel efficient technology," she adds.
As part of Fiat’s return to the US, the company is set to begin their retail network later this year with plans of bringing in the American version of the 500 and following that up with the release of the 500 Cabrio edition sometime in 2011.
This past weekend Fiat North America unveiled the special edition Cinquecento Prima Edizione that will go on sale at the end of 2010. It will be limited to only 500 units and will be available in just three colors: Bianco (White), Rosso (Red), and Grigio (Gray).
The new Fiat Cinquecento Prima Edizione will be powered by a 1.4-liter MultiAir four-cylinder engine mated to a manual transmission. It will be distinguished by an exclusive Prima Edizione badge, individualization options, quality and advanced technology, all wrapped in iconic Italian style.
"The Fiat Cinquecento Prima Edizione was developed especially with the Fiat fans in mind," said Laura Soave, Head of Fiat North America, who personally presented the opportunity to the Fiat aficionados. "For over a quarter of a century, the members of this Club have kept the spirit of the Fiat and Lancia brands alive in North America through their unique and passionate support for true Italian design. We really value their loyalty, and the Prima Edizione is our gift of appreciation to these fans on behalf of Fiat North America."
The first to be able to sign up for the Fiat Cinquecento Prima Edizione (orFiat 500 First Edition) were the club members at the Fiat-Lancia club event in Asheville, NC. There, the head of Fiat North America, Laura Soave, passed out a sheet to give the members the opportunity to be the first to put their names down for the special edition. Don’t worry, Fiat lovers, you’ll get a chance to place your order soon as well courtesy of www.ciaofiat.com.
Press release after the jump.
As you might have known by now, Fiat is making a comeback to the US market and the 500 will be one of the models offered here. The only difference is, in Europe, the car comes in coupe and convertible versions, but on the US market it will be offered as a 4-door model.
The four-door version of the Fiat 500 has a code-name: L0. The vehicle would be classified as a small minivan in Europe because it has a hatch in the rear and a high roof. Fiat will build the vehicle for export at its Mirafiori plant in Turin on a longer and wider platform than the two-door 500. North American versions of the two-door 500 will be built at Chrysler’s factory in Toluca, Mexico. While we were looking at the 4 door Fiat, we couldn’t help, but notice that it kind of looks like a very rounded Scion xB. Call us crazy, but that is what it reminded us of.
Hit the jump for the full story.
The Chrysler/Fiat tie-up has been getting enthusiasts in the U.S excited. We all knew that it was finally a matter when, not if, Fiat products would return to the U.S. Now we may know when that actually is, as plans are underway to have the Fiat 500 in Chrysler delearships for the 2010 model year.
This makes a lot of sense. By 2010 the U.S. market will be focused on smaller cars. Ford will have new Europeans in its North American lineup like the Fiesta, and General Motors will be drawing attention with the Volt. The 500 will provide Chrysler with its own showroom attraction for minimal investment (it’s rumored the 500 only need a new front bumper beam.)
Now comes the tricky part: will mainstream American buy for a European city car? We like the Fiat 500 because its a cool package for a small, agile and cheap car. But when it hits the U.S. streets it will be seen as a direct competitor to the Mini Cooper and Volkswagen Beetle. The top engine choice in the 500’s current line-up (non-Abarth) lis the 99 hp 1.4-liter four cylinder engine. That’s 19 hp less than the Mini and 51 hp less than the Beetle.
If the 500 is a success in the U.S., that could mean other products, including the drop-dead sexy Alfa Romeos (wouldn’t a Brera look great next to a 300C on the Chrysler lot...hint, hint.) All we can do now is hope that the 500’s personality will make up for its lack of power.
Fiat announced its intention of selling the 500 mini-car in USA by 2010. The USA version could come from the North American plant that Fiat Group is scouting for Alfa Romeo.
"I am convinced the 500 with a full range will be a smash (in the United States) if we do it right," Fiat Group CEO Sergio Marchionne said last week on the sidelines of the Automotive News Europe Congress here.
Marchionne also said selling the 500 in the United States will not mean the Fiat brand will return to the United States because the 500 is a brand in itself.
Answering reporters’ questions, Marchionne said the 500 should be produced in North America to be cost competitive.
The 500 debuted as a three-door hatchback. A soft-top cabriolet version will follow in 2009. In 2010, Fiat will add a long-wheelbase, wagon-looking 500. Fiat also is considering an SUV-looking variant that could feature all-wheel drive.
Fiat is cosidering bringing a sporty version of the 500 minicar as a competitor for the Mini Cooper. It is also said that if it will come, it won’t wear the Fiat badge. Exports could begin sometime after 2010.
The new model, Abarth 500, will be the sporty version of the Fiat 500 and will have an output of 120 hp.
In Europe the Abarth 500 will be priced at 15.000 euro (or $20,195). The Mini Cooper is priced at $18,700.
"We cannot exclude our new 500 would go, in some forms, to the US (...)
The US will receive the newly designed Fiat 500.The new mini will be launched on the 4th July. Sergio Marchionne, Fiat CEO said “Sooner or later it is a possibility that the 500 will arrive on the American market, but it will not happen now, probably after 2010.”Marchionne also said that the expected production for the next two years is already sold out.
The targets for the Fiat 500 currently stand at 58,000 for this year and 120,000 in 2008, while the recently launched Fiat Bravo, has (...)