Fiat’s “great little car” the 500 celebrates 60 years

The journey of the Fiat 500 has been 60 years in the making. The Fiat brand’s ‘great little car’ has travelled from Dante Giacosa’s design desk to the gates of the Mirafiori factory, from the long avenues of Torino to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, after crisscrossing Europe. 

Brian Joss – Four million of the original Fiat 500 and two million of the current model have been sold to date in more than 100 countries worldwide. It is market leader in eight countries, ranks in the top three in six more with 80% sold outside Italy; an undisputed global success.

July has been a month of celebrations, with the handover of the two-millionth Fiat 500 and two special editions dedicated to its special birthday. First, the 500-60esimo, introduced at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, and then the 500 Anniversario, both of which cleverly blend 1960s flair with modern technology to win over buyers.

Anniversary edition: the Fiat 500, blending flair with technology. Picture: Quickpic

The secret of the longevity of the 500 has always been in its ability to step beyond its own dimensions and become something different, while remaining true to itself. More than just a simple car, it is an object with a genuine cult following which has intrigued, excited and influenced the most diverse contexts across the globe.

The iconic Fiat has also inspired fashion. The luxury sportswear brand Hydrogen is celebrating the sixty years of the 500 with a limited edition sweatshirt, of which 1957 were made to pay homage to the year of birth of the car. The sweatshirt “500byHydrogen” is a ‘forever young’ garment perfect for many occasions and defines the wearer’s personality at a glance.

The Fiat 500 60th Anniversary Edition arrives in South Africa later this year to join the 500 family, alongside its larger Tipo Hatchback and Sedan siblings.

Following this week’s 60th Anniversary of the Fiat 500 on July 4, the iconic model is celebrating another auspicious milestone with the production of the two millionth Fiat 500. This is the most recent success of the ‘great little car’ that has broken records and reaped many awards in its long history. The impressive total of six million cars sold in 60 years of history includes over four million units sold of its 1957 forerunner: this alone is indicative of the impact the Fiat 500 has had on society and explains why the car has entered collective imagination worldwide, embracing four generations of motorists.

The Fiat 500 reached the milestone of two million cars sold in only 10 years, and reflects the global success of the current car. Sold in 100 countries worldwide, the 500 is Europe’s number one city car, is the market leader in eight countries and ranks in the top three in six others. The 500 is experiencing constant growth with more than 80% of sales achieved outside the home market.

More than 200,000 Fiat 500’s have been sold in Germany since 2007, so it is no coincidence that the 2 Millionth car was delivered in that market. The Fiat 500 boasts the fastest year-on-year (2017 vs 2016) market share growth in Germany and is among the top 10 in the A segment. Furthermore, the 500 is the FCA brand car with the highest customer satisfaction rating in Germany, as are all 500 family products, having higher customer satisfaction levels than the benchmark German competitors in their respective segments.

The purchaser of car number two million is a nursery-school teacher from Munich; an authentic Millennial, constantly looking more to the future than to the past, just like Fiat 500. The model selected was a Fiat 500S, the new sporty version characterised by bold looks and packed with appealing standard equipment. It is true to itself and as connected as ever, with UconnectTM 7″ HD LIVE touchscreen infotainment system implementing the new state-of-the-art smartphone integration systems, Apple CarPlay and Android AutoTM.

It has distinctive looks, featuring front and rear bumpers in a sporty design, built-in fog lights, bespoke spoilers and side skirts in addition to exclusive “Satin Graphite” finish accents on the door and tailgate handles, the mirror caps and wheel rims, as well as tinted rear windows, chrome tailpipe, “black-grained” front air vents and an assertive honeycomb lower grille. The matte black 16-inch rims are specific to this model. The unit sports a Passione Red livery and is powered by the 0.9 TwinAir 105 HP.

A secret of the 500’s worldwide success is its continued development with new interpretations and special editions like the 500C by Gucci, the 500 by Diesel, as well as the recently launched 500 Riva, ‘The Smallest Yacht in the world’ and the 60th Anniversary model due in limited numbers locally in the course of the next month.

Diverse creative worlds converge in a car which is loved, exciting and surprising, capable of being always contemporary and current as well as entering collective imagination and transcending the automotive world, so much so that the original Fiat 500 from the 1950’s was recently enshrined in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

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