This remodelled classic, the Fiat 500, is hitting US roads.
Almost a year after the merger with Chrysler, the famous and rather humble Italian car company, Fiat, wants to revolutionize American roads which are currenly glutted with BIG cars.
The economic crisis and rising oil prices have affected Americans' wallets. They are ready to calm down when it comes to gas consumption. Out with SUVs and in with economy cars. If this works, it will bolster Fiat's financial situation, which was threatening bankruptcy until recently. (The company plans to close its Termini Imerese factory in Sicily, to the dismay of local workers. For Fiat's general factory closure information, read this International Herald Tribune article.)
I am curious to see if this little "cool" car will truly take off across the ocean. The novelty of a new release will surely help this year but Fiat 500 can't compete with another small car, the MINI. The English model is a knotch higher when considering performance and aesthetic appeal. I think women will like the Fiat for its "cute" appeal and the price tag which is easier to swallow than the MINI. Time will tell. Then there is also the competition that Toyota presents with its excellent hybrid cars. Will Americans really size-down their automobile choices with models like Fiat 500 in the long-run, despite the big open spaces the US land offers and the people's general philosophy that, "bigger is better"?
Fiat 500 has invested good energy and money into some great advertising. Here is the latest commercial:
If you cannot see the video properly from this post, click to this YouTube page.
Let's just flash back in time and remember the days when almost the entire country of Italy was driving a little 500. Still today, many of the roads we are using were designed for this kind of car and not the modern generation of automobiles. Italians can barely fit their new cars into the garages they have, mostly built in the '60s and '70s. These older 500's are now officially historic cars and several still get spotted on Italian roads, for the pleasure of nostalgic Italians and excited foreigners, who are eager to take a picture beside one.