FIAT is about to launch a truly nostalgic vehicle this coming spring. It is a special 57th anniversary edition of the FIAT Nuova Cinquecento (New FIAT 500 in English - meaning, of course, new when it was initially released). This small city car came out in the late 50s (1957 to be exact) and was a popular town and city car of the era, remaining in production in various forms until the 1970s.
The modern incarnation sports classic 16 inch wheels, a retro brown leather interior ivory trim and grey door panels, and badges on the nose and tails just like back in the days. It comes in lovely pastel colors - light green, light blue, or white. The models having the first two colors offset the color of the body with white mirrors and roof.
The engine for these nostalgic gems is a FIAT 1.4 liter MultiAir 4 cylinder. There is an option as regards the transmission to which this engine is yolked. Customers can choose either a 5 speed manual or a 6 speed automatic transmission. Other options include a higher quality audio system a sport tuned suspension.
Why is FIAT going to the trouble of doing all this? It's really not all that much trouble. It's sometimes possible to see these sorts of anniversary re-releases as crass and profit-driven. It usually doesn't cost an auto maker as much to re-issue a tried and true vehicle, even with the improvements, as it does to come out with current and cutting edge designs and technologies. And they can, of course, charge a nice hefty price for vintage editions of classic cars.
However, perhaps this is a bit cynical. The release of the vehicle seems redolent with symbolic meaning for FIAT. Rather than viewing it as the re-issue of just another updated classic vehicle, FIAT is presenting the 500's return as a celebration of "the rebirth of FIAT and its product range." Jason Stoicevich summed it up this way: "The 1957 Edition celebrates the Cinquecento, the icon of our brand, and its unique cachet of Italian style, efficiency and engaging road manners..." FIAT is seeing some high times these days, so it seems fitting that it would want to celebrate some of its hard earned status as a leading global auto maker.
Source: Holt FIAT of Ft Worth, TX
The Fiat Group is a major key player not just in automotive production, but also with various joint ventures and license productions as well. It is the largest vehicle manufacturer in Italy, a distinction it had retained since 1910. It also meant simultaneously owning plants not just for cars but for industrial and agricultural vehicles as well. Aside from the small Fiat city cars that dominate the cities in Europe, it has several partnerships, acquisitions and alliances with other giant European carmakers such as Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Chrysler, Lancia, Ducato and Ferrari. Its CEO, Sergio Marchionne has since steered the company into being one of the top five automakers who have survived and garnered success over the years. It was even tagged in 1968 as “the most dynamic automaker in Europe”. An understatement considering Fiat made military machinery, vehicles, and aircraft during World War I and II. Fiat stands for Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino or Italian Automobile Factory of Turin.
Car of The Year
No other car manufacturer in Europe has been awarded 12 times as European Car of the Year in the span of 40 years. These Fiat car models were Alfa Romeo, Fiat Bravo/Brava, Fiat Punto, Fiat Panda, Fiat 500, Fiat Uno, Lancia Delta and Fiat 124, 128, and 127. Alfa Romeo cars are known for being one of the best looking cars of its time. Its world-renowned main features are its exterior and interior styling, which is the benchmark for Alfa Romeo cars, including a highly developed platform and suspension system. Fiat Bravo and Brava cars are small family cars that known for precise handling and better comfort in terms of driving experience. The Fiat Panda on the other hand is your basic “modern day” car, a basic no frills utility vehicle. It may have a cheap, “boxy look” in the early years but it is utilitarian and practical in many aspects. In Europe, it could be seen as Polish police cars, Italian forest service cars, and Swiss postal mail delivery service cars. Fiat Punto is a super mini car popular among amateur racing car drivers low cost and easy availability of its spare parts. Lancia Delta is a compact luxury car best known for dominating the World Rally Championships in late 80's and early 90's. The Fiat 500 is a city car that known for its enormous practicality making it a popular vehicle in Europe. Compare these to the models that are sold in the states like the 500 L and the Abarth, which can be seen online at Pomoco FIAT of Newport News.
With the Japanese and US automakers wanting a larger share of the car market, Fiat and Lancia cars were consequently withdrawn in the US market particularly in 1984. Even Alfa Romeo exited the US market in 1995, while Maserati sales increased briskly since 2002. Fiats worldwide operations makes it Italy's largest industrial concern and continues to do so as plans of expanding to third world markets are in their time table.
Fiat, to date, continues to produce luxury cars but has now expanded into manufacturing smaller cars as well. With its success as one of the top European auto manufacturers in the world, it is certain that it would continue on with its heritage of excellence in design and superior performance in any car class.
Fiat has been as esteemed name in manufacturing vehicles. Numerous individuals purchased its cars since it started in the industry. Nevertheless, every top name has its downfall. For Fiat, the manufacturing of Fiat Multipla is considered its setback.
Top Gear’s Ugliest Car of the Year
In 1999, Top Gear named Multipla as the Ugliest Car of the Year, a title that no one would want to receive. Obviously, a car is an investment and it is an expensive asset. Therefore, it is understandable if buyers choose elegantly designed vehicle. Even if a car does not possess an extremely luxurious appeal, it should at least look pleasing to the eyes.
The blow against the car’s appeal does not end with the award as Simon Cowell, the infamous former American Idol judge, also had something to say about the Fiat car when he guested in Top Gear. After seeing the car on a photo, the X Factor executive producer commented that the vehicle had a disease. Cowell is known for being harsh, but many may consider this as hardcore.
What Went Wrong?
People who have not seen Multipla may ask why the car received such award and comment. What went wrong in manufacturing the manufacturing? Consider it as a bold move for the company as it tried a unique design for the vehicle. Judging from its looks, most people commented that it is like gluing two vehicles together. Imagine a compact car, chop its top, and place it on a convertible. It looks very awkward because Multipla looked like as if it had a prominent hump. Even the backside of the car appeared weird for many buyers. Hence, gaining the title from the prominent car show on television.
However, Multipla also had its own appeal and some buyers may love it, particularly those who look for a compact vehicle with great interior space. It followed Fiat Brava’s style although made shorter and wider. This results to getting more interior space that can accommodate six people and still have good space for luggage.
Aside from its style, Multipla also failed to catch on in terms of sales. The car was unveiled in Italy first then expanded to other countries, where it did not receive as much acknowledgement.
Every setback means an opportunity for a comeback. Top Gear may have named Multipla the ugliest car in 1999, the Top Gear Magazine chose it as the Family Car of Year. And this is not for one year, but for four consecutive years.
In addition to receiving a completely different title, Multipla also received a major aesthetic overall as the company rebooted its style in 2004. Its transformation received critical acclaim from buyers together with its spacious interiors.
Fiat Multipla experienced quite a roller coaster ride when it comes to reputation. Nevertheless, it showed that every downfall opens an opportunity to comeback. In fact, it made a glorious comeback that gained more fans and earned benefits for the company, boosting its sales to promote better cars today.
Thankfully the Multipa isn’t sold here in the states, but instead we are lucky enough to experience the beauty that is the Abarth and 500 L—both of which can be seen at Arrigo WPB Fiat.
The Jeep Wrangler has taken the Hottest 4x4 SUV title at SEMA. Not only that, but it has done so for the fourth year in a row. This is really a testament to the vehicle's soundness, innovation, and popularity. It has also taken other honors such as being rated Four Wheeler of the Year by Four Wheeler Magazine.
One interesting display at the show is the Jeep Wrangler Copper Edition. This was only one of the Wranglers at the show, but was possibly the most notable from a stylistic as well as functional perspective. The SUV was painted with a copper tone, which in itself is something to take a second look at. Added to this are a number of cool Mopar parts.
Some examples include the lightweight 17 inch black beadlock wheels, matte black grille, and Rubicon bumper. Onto the bumper a 9.5ti winch is attached, as well as a trailer hitch. The vehicle also has rock rails. The transfer case of this Jeep was updated to allow it to more easily crawl up and down rocks. This is Jeep off-roading at its most focused and intense.
The non-SEMA 2014 Jeep Wrangler comes in a number of different varieties, and after speaking to Utah’s Jeep headquarters, Ken Garff West Valley Jeep, we learned that a large percentage of Jeep buyers are at least interested in the huge Mopar parts selections that allows customers to customize to their heart's content. There are 2 door and 4 door versions, and 4 basic varieties - the Sport, Sahara, Rubicon, and Freedom Edition. These Jeeps are much more comfortable and smooth riding than in the past, showing an evolution toward a more and more successful integration of toughness, style, and cushiness as the model has developed over time.
Engine-wise the Wrangler has been powered by a Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6 since 2012, and offers a choice of 5-speed automatic transmission and 6-speed manual. It only gets 16 city miles to the gallon, which is not very competitive fuel economy these days; but remember that many owners of this Jeep use it for genuine off-roading, so they are not after vehicles to use to drive to and from work.
Wranglers have the distinction of being the only 4x4 SUV around today (excluding crossovers) that is also a convertible. Both the hard and the soft top versions have tops that are completely removable. Even the windsheild can be flipped down. This convertibility has been a feature of many Jeep vehicles for decades, but it is nice to see that it is still being maintained as these off-roaders are getting classier and more advanced. This shows the ancestry of the vehicle and gives the driver a link with its rugged and even battle seasoned past.
Jeep has been known for manufacturing rugged yet elegant cars that only the brand can offer. However, the company showed a softer side after launching its Super Bowl official commercial ad paying homage to the American troops who are at the frontlines.
A YouTube Sensation
The company launched the commercial titled “Whole Again” and presented it through the brand’s official YouTube channel on February 3, 2013. It became a sensation after gaining more than seven million views and nine thousand likes since it was shown at the famous online streaming site.
The commercial started with a quote by Oprah Winfrey saying, “We wait. We hope. We pray. Until you’re home again,” then followed by videos of American troops’ families doing their daily activities while waiting for the day when their loved ones return home. At the latter part of the commercial, the narrator indicated that being whole is more than just being a family. It goes beyond being with them. When that time comes, they become a nation that is whole again.
Lines stated in that the commercial hit close to home for some YouTube viewers. They are the individuals who experience having a family member staying away for a while due to their duties or those who are actually a troop member. Moreover, some comments also own a Jeep and made them feel prouder in owning the vehicle. The video gained a resounding compliment from viewers and shared it through other social media sites. Due to its concept, numerous individuals named the commercial as the best Super Bowl commercial.
Supporting a Cause
Jeep had a deeper reason for coming up with the commercial’s concept. It is about supporting the cause called Operation SAFE Return (OSR) in collaboration with USO. In line with the cause, Jeep announced that it will donate a dollar to the USO for every tweet with the #joinOSR hashtag. The donation can reach up to $300,000 for supporting the country’s heroes.
In addition to the commercial, Jeep also set a specific page introducing the OSR project and USO. According to the page, the company became an integral part of the battle in 1941 as it brought the troops back to their camps. Now, the company wants to be there in welcoming them back home.
SAFE stands for Secure Transport, Aid for Transition, Freedom Adventures, and Enduring Care, a platform established by Jeep that aims to extend financial assistance and in-kind support for troops reuniting with their families. Through USO, returning troops will experience smooth transition in terms of work, home and health.
The company worked with USO, an organization known in lifting the troops’ morale by extending services that support them and their families. It is a non-profit organization that established numerous projects beneficial for American soldiers like innovative programs, support for wounded warriors, military families and a lot more. Dealerships all over like Crosstown Jeep are working together with Jeep and this organization.
Jeep touched numerous people through this commercial and the project is well-received. It showed its commitment to the cause and the importance of promoting a united nation through being whole again, by waiting for troops until their return together with their loved ones.