Long-term test. Abarth 500 impresses

Photo by Autoblog Español

As a constant reader of Autoblog Español, I must reproduce a brief of what has been their long-term test with an Abarth 500. The guys from that blog have always done a great job when it is about telling auto news or, in this case, making an extreme test of a car. Yesterday they released what seems to be final results of 90.000 km with the powerful 500, which took them more than 2 years. One of their main goals, as they say, was to clarify how right or not were the rumors about reliability of Italian cars. As it is well-known Fiat Group cars, except for Ferrari and Maserati, suffer from a serious illness: the lack of trust by most European consumers. For some problems in the past related to quality, most of Italian cars are still fighting against that common idea that most of them have problems and are not reliable. But according to the guys from Autoblog it is more a myth than a reality, just as it is considered in the UK, where the Abarth 500 is among the best rated cars in terms of depreciation.

Photo by Autoblog Español

First of all, they fell in love with this car from the beginning, no matter it was neither the fastest nor the cheapest. However “it has a character and personality, and above all, you can fall in love with the way it moves and sounds“. Its fuel consumption average is about 7.8 liters/100 km, which means that is “a car with low fuel consumption taking into account how fast it goes on the road, and allow us to have fun without burning money“. In terms of quality, they are just impressed with the “phenomenal” way it ages. After 90.000 km there is not even one single weird noise of the materials in the dashboard. There was only one tiny sound in the sunroof which stopped after a quick maintenance. All plastic and leather components are extremely well-preserved and they seem to be less old. Only outside, due to some scratch and inside, the gear box, the car demonstrates it has been driven for almost 100.000 km. They did also have tiny problems with one of the headlights which stopped working only after some hours of use. According to Autoblog guys, the major problem they had, was when the starting system broke just before 50.000 km: “after being replaced by warranty, we can’t complain anymore about the mechanics of the car, which we consider more than reliable. From all cars we’ve tested so far, this is the one with less quantity of problems, and that’s a good thing for the small Italian produced in Tychy… Italian reliability topic has shown that, at least with this car, is just undeserved fame“. They recommend it for those who love the 500 and looking for a small and fun-to-drive car, which is unbeatable when it is about the perfect combination of fun-design-passion.

Interior for the unit tested. Photo by Autoblog Español

The Abarth 500 is one of the few cars I don’t get bored with” says Guillermo Alfonsin, one Autoblog writers. Its engine with its 135 hp “has made me smiled”. Compared to high performance cars or more complete ones “I just took 5 minutes to want it. And every time I parked it in the garage, I could not resist to look back to see its shape of ‘sporty shoe’ that I have always loved“.

Engine for the unit tested. Photo by Autoblog Español

The unit tested was an Abarth 500 1.4 135 hp, 5-Speed manual. Taken from Autoblog Español, Prueba de larga duración: 90.000 km con el Abarth 500

Fiat/Abarth 500 continues to impress British market

Once again, second month in a row, the successful Fiat 500 continues to hit British. In May 2012 it was again among 10 best selling cars in that important market. Last month 2.823 units were delivered to clients making of it the 10th best selling car and number 1 among small cars. The good sales performance is even more impressive if is taken into account that the UK is the land of Mini, the eternal archenemy of the small Italian (though they don’t belong to the same segment). Year to date results indicate the 500 has reached 14.113 units sold, compared to 25.607 units it sold for the whole 2011. The good results of it can be explained by several and continous promotions made by Fiat that include very interesting financial plans, and also by the good reputation the model has in the UK.

Fiat 500 and 500C Financial payment offers for the UK, June 2012. Source: http://www.fiat.co.uk

 

Fiat 500 and 500C financial offers June 2012 with Fiat Advance Payment Plan. Source: http://www.fiat.co.uk

In fact one of the success key factors that allows the good sales figures is the depreciation index of the car. Some days ago CAP, British market leading provider of vehicle valuation data, published the list of best and worst depreciated cars in that country. The study includes only three-year-old cars with more than 48.000 km and Abarth 500 and Fiat 500C occupied very important places. The first one retains an average value (after 3 years/48.000 km of use) of 60% of its initial value, while the cabrio version costs 58.4% of what it used to cost 3 years before. These results allowed them to occupy number 3 and 4 places among the best depreciated cars in Britain, after the Audi Q5 and Skoda Yeti. It is certainly an excellent result that tells about the good image the car continues to have after 5 years of its launch. In the other hand another member of the family, Fiat Bravo, appears in the bottom of the list, keeping just 34.4% of its original value. Something to think about.

CAP’s April 2012 Depreciation Survey in the UK. Source: Auto Express

Pep Guardiola and his new friend, the Abarth 500

Coach Guardiola is preparing in the best way to his sabbatical year. Here he’s with his new Abarth 500 at Italian Motor Village Barcelona.

Former coach of Barcelona futbol Club, Pep Guardiola, chose an Abarth 500 as his new car. He has admired the characteristics of the small powered Italian and that’s why he will be able to enjoy its Turbo engine in the beautiful Barcelona. One more happy client of these great cars. Good for it.

One more member to Cinquecento family: Abarth 695 Edizione Maserati

Abarth 695 Edizione Maserati. Photo by netcarshow.com

Finally, Abarth has shown its 695 Edizione Maserati. It was suposed to be presented in Geneva 2012 but without no explanation Fiat’s sportive brand decided not to do it. As they did with 695 Tributo Ferrari, this version of small 500 will have Maserati’s specific touches outside and inside while it will be moved by 180 hp. Certainly it is another hit by Abarth no matter its price (more than $50.000 €). The mini super car has also sequential gearbox ‘dualmode’ Monza inspired by Maserati Quattroporte and 17″ wheels with strong Maserati inspiration. Inside, Maserati’s luxury is evident: Frau leather for seats, carbon fyber cockpit, and a JBL sound system with 9 speakers and 400 watts. Fiat will only produce 499 units and it seems they will not have any problem selling them as they did with limited edition of Tributo Ferrari.

Regular Fiat 500 for Europe. Photo by netcarshow.com

Regular Fiat 500 for Europe. Photo by netcarshow.com

Though it is a small number of units produced, it is certainly a good news for Fiat brand. They continue to enlarge the successful 500 family making useful of its original shape for several type of clients. Limited editions as Maserati one may not enlarge units sold but create what is called viral marketing: it makes press and people to talk about it again, no matter it was launched 5 years ago. The car is now in the headlines and this helps to boost general sales. Something that takes even more relevance nowadays when competition in ‘A’ segment is getting tough with arrival of VW Up! Italians are excellent producing small and sporty cars: in one hand people prefer Italians minis and in the other one, they dream about having a Ferrari or a Maserati. They are doing very good at offering the 695 Edizione Maserati: they offer both cars in one at a ‘regular’ price and therefore generate a good impact within users and social networks.

Fiat 500C. Photo by netcarshow.com

Fiat 500C. Photo by netcarshow.com

With this arrival, 500 family is gettin big now: first it came the regular Cinquecento presented in 2007 only for European markets. Then in 2009, they showed the Abarth version. Meanwhile the 500C appeared. Then, in Geneva 2011 they showed the Fiat 500 by Zagato as a concept and 500 by Gucci, after the success of 500 by Diesel. This year they finally introduced the 500L, a family version of it. The work Fiat has done with this model is an example to follow in other segments. They not only created an icon of design and style, but also a referent in the segment of small and exclusive cars. Fiat could open a new segment within the ‘A’ segment with a car that is practical, but at the same time luxury and original. A car that has become popular everywhere it has been introduced and has been able to project a family design shape.

Fiat 500 by Zagato Concept in Geneva 2011

So far Fiat and Abarth have been able to meet needs from bachelor students who get their first ca up to single business men who want a second and fast car. The target is getting big as the range of Cinquecentos. Sale’s numbers can confirm it: since July 2007 when it was presented in Turin, Fiat 500 have accumulated more than 750.000 units sold worldwide becoming a real success in Italy, France, England, the Netherlands, Greece, Japan and now becoming popular in its new markets: America, Canada, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico. The 500L will come to increase even more these numbers as it will offer another kind of car based on 500’s main idea: practicality and originality with Italian touch.

Abarth 500C essesse. Photo by netcarshow.com

Abarth 500C essesse. Photo by netcarshow.com

Fiat 500 for American market. Photo by netcarshow.com

Fiat 500 for American market. Photo by netcarshow.com

Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari Interior. Photo by netcarshow.com

Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari Interior. Photo by netcarshow.com

Fiat 500L, available in fall 2012

Fiat 500L, available in fall 2012