1 million Fiat 500 so far!

Not even Fiat expected these results. 5 years after its official presentation in Turin the small Fiat 500 has become one of the best hits of Fiat Group in the last 10 years. The resurrection of the 1957 Fiat 500 became a success that continues to grow and is now a referent for the future of Fiat brand. It appeared just when Fiat was struggling to survive proposing a new concept for a citycar, with a stylish approach, making use of its glorious past and promising future. Thanks to the great work of Centro Stile Fiat in Turin, which was in charged of exterior and interior design, the new 500 had everything to be successful: personality, style, and originality. Soon the car exceeded all its goals everywhere it was introduced. As soon as the car was available in dealerships, Italy was full of them in all of its roads. Then came the UK, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland. After some months, the car began to be exported to Japan (an instant hit) and Australia. Produced in Tychy, Poland, the small car came to complete Fiat’s offer in A-Segment with the Panda, successful aswell. However the 500 was positioned one step ahead in the segment with a bit higher price to emphasize its idea of a exclusive-popular car. Unlike the Panda, the 500 was not only popular in Italy but in almost every market it was introduced. 2 years after its presentation, Fiat bought Chrysler and this was another reason to keep expanding the 500 success. Chrysler plant in Toluca, Mexico, was chosen to produce the American Fiat 500. With some tiny differences compared to the European version, the 500 made in Mexico meant the come back of Fiat brand to USA and Canada markets.

The largest markets for Fiat 500 are located in Europe. From next year US market will be 500 world’s largest one. Interesting to see that the car is not really popular in the countries it is produced, Poland and Mexico. Source: bestsellingcarsblog.net

It is one of Fiat’s most successful models in the last 20 years with so many prizes (2008 Europe’s Car of the Year) and so many special editions for targets that go from the Barbie-girl to the bad boys of Formula 1. Thanks to its success a historical name was born as a brand: Abarth. Fiat decided to overload the small car under Abarth brand with highly sporty specifications that worked extremely well. The car has been part of Fiat collaboration with other brands of the group such as Ferrari and Maserati, and also with fashion (Diesel and Gucci). The reason for this success is mainly explained by the combination of two things: a great product and awesome marketing. The way Fiat has sold the car should be a referent for doing the same for its other models and brands. It is not the cheapest car of the segment but is the second best-selling mini car in Europe. It is not the most comfortable car but has become a referent for single young people or couples. But Fiat has made a big advertising campaign, merchandising, sponsorships and big interaction with people that allow them to know the car and the most important, to desire it. All of that allowed the 500 to become the small city chic car that everybody wanted to have. The good thing is that more sales of 500 model did not affect its brothers Fiat Panda or Punto, as all of them are focused on different targets.

The Renault Twingo is the toughest rival so far, but the new Up! is becoming popular aswell. The Ka, not popular at all is based on the Fiat 500 and produced in the same factory. The Adam is the latest rival to arrive.

Some of Fiat/Abarth 500’s versions and Special Editions

The future for this model? Fiat wants to make use of current generation for at least 3 more years as the car enjoys of strong demand in USA, Canada, Brazil and Argentina, while in Europe is not suffering as much as a 5-year-old car is supposed to. The strategy is to enlarge the concept launching new 500 for other segments, such as the new 500L. Italy is well-known for its small and sporty cars. Fiat wants to extend the 500 success offering the concept of retro chic style in larger cars or even SUV. Some days ago Sergio Marchionne said it was possible that next Punto could make use of these values. It is more or less what Mini has done with its cars. But one thing they must remember is that doing more products like the 500 would not mean an immediate success. The formula implies an excellent marketing campaign, such as the one the 500 has always  had. 1 million units produced so far is a good number for an excellent product, and the best example of what Italians can do when they add passion to their work.

Fiat 500 Zagato presented in Geneva 2011 as a Show car

Fiat 500e makes its “green carpet” debut at the 2012 American Music Awards in Los Angeles, USA

Mopar developed its special 500 for USA

Even Gadafi fell in love with the car. He asked for a special edition only for him

Part of the success of this car is the good way it has been promoted

Nice ideas that generate or increase the model’s awareness

The car has been part of several Ad campaigns with important personalities. Here with Fernando Alonso

Jennifer Lopez was in charged of promoting the car in USA. It worked

Other personalities have chosen the 500. In the picture, Pep Guardiola with its Abarth 500

Even the interior can be personalized.

I also make part of 500 lovers. This is an illustration I made for my studies of Car design.

 

Fiat 500E gets ready

After Paris and Sao Paulo, the next important auto show will be held in Los Angeles, USA. It is certainly not as important as Detroit motor show, but Los Angeles has some relevance as it is the main city of the largest car market among USA states (California state captures 11% of the US market). California is also important as it is the place where hybrid and new energy-sources cars are really popular. According to California New Car Dealers Association, September YTD sales figures indicate that the hybrid Toyota Prius is the best-selling car over there, with more than 46.000 cars sold so far. The market is clearly dominated by Japanese brands with ‘C-Segment’ sedans, different from what happens in the rest of the country where big trucks and sedans are the kings of the roads. The same source shows that the small Fiat 500 occupies an interesting place, among best-selling models, with more than 6.300 units sold, much more than what it has sold in some European markets such as Spain or the Netherlands. Actually, California counts for 19% of Fiat 500 sales in USA, which is not a small number. It is why, according to some press releases, Fiat is getting prepared to present the 500E in Los Angeles motor show, starting November 30th. According to Autoblog Español, the small electric car will be limited edition, on sale exclusively for US market and will be powered by 100 hp, not bad to be a small and electric car. It follows Marchionne’s statement in which he said the small electric 500 would be ready in early 2013, even though it was not a profitable car, but an image brand car. And that’s really what Fiat needs now in America. After the great success of the regular 500 and Abarth, they must keep working on brand awareness to get more and more clients. The best way is with new presentations or special editions. In Los Angeles it is expected the presentation of the Fiat 500C Abarth and this electric version. They will be in charge of increasing the 500 family while the 500L arrives next year.

Photo by Auto Edizione