Fiat 500 (2007 – Present)Posted by Auto Perceptions on April 10, 2012 at 8:22 am.
The new Fiat 500 has been built by Italian automaker Fiat since 2007. The car is currently produced in Tychy, Poland by Fiat Auto Poland S.A. and in Toluca, Mexico, by Chrysler Group LLC. Touted as a city car, the four-seater, three-door hatchback 500 is almost identical to the Trepiuno concept car presented in 2004 at the 74th Geneva Motorshow. This car featured a distinctive retro-look resembling the original Fiat 500.
Though the new Fiat 500 has been available in Europe since 2007, it only reached North American shores in 2010.
A sportier version, the Fiat 500 Abarth (pictured below) has also been introduced for those craving additional driving excitement from their 500.
The new series of Fiats were launched with much fanfare in Europe in 2007, and with good reason; the original 500 proved to be an enormously practical and popular vehicle throughout Europe.
The launch show, which took place in the Turin’s Murazzi del Po region, was a huge firework spectacle that also celebrated the 50th anniversary of the old 500 launch.
As the new 500 has history throughout Europe, it stirs up feelings of nostalgia in many Europeans. In this part of the world, where population density is high and road and parking space is scarce, small cars like the 500 are the norm and are almost guaranteed to be well received.
How does such a compact car fare out west, in the land of trucks and SUVs?
In North America, much of the way has been paved already by other sub-compacts such as the Mini and Smart Car. Increasing fuel costs and a weakened economy have also contributed toward a warmer reception for the 500 in the North American market. However, the Fiat brand is still relatively new to North Americans. As the new 500 does not have the same history as it does in Europe, Fiat has employed celebrities such as J Lo and Charlie Sheen to endorse it.
The 500 is advertised as being trendy, cool, and fitting well into the urban environment. The care-free commercials almost seem to promise a new type of freedom for the metropolitan city dweller.
Then again, any other small car would open up parking opportunities for city dwellers just as effectively. What, then, makes this little car stand out among the others in North America? Nothing, really. In Europe, it may be a different story, but Fiat is probably betting that the West is finally ready to hear that story too.
Statement: It’s simple, but if it worked for the Europeans, it works for me.