Brian Joss – A constant symbol of Italian style and manufacturing worldwide, the timeless Fiat 500 continues to impress, by recording, in its 11th year, its best-ever annual figures with almost 194,000 units registered in Europe in 2018 (total for Fiat 500 and Abarth 500).
This is yet another record for the best-selling car in its segment, where it has also achieved its second best ever share of about 15%.
“This sales record reminds us that the 500 is a real timeless automotive icon, and not just for the Fiat brand,” declares Luca Napolitano, Head of EMEA Fiat and Abarth brand. “I am very proud of this result, which sees the 500 the best-seller in 11 European countries and in the top three in another four. Over its 11-year lifetime, the 500 has never gone out of fashion, and has been successful everywhere as a symbol of Italian and design and manufacturing. While remaining true to itself, it has been re-interpreted over time, linking its name to iconic brands – from fashion to luxury yachts and from technology to the heritage sector – to create more than 30 special series and explore unusual territories for a city car. Like its illustrious predecessor, the new 500 has “brightened up” the daily lives and streets of the whole world, becoming a cool solution to international urban mobility needs. Today it is the most global Fiat car, sold in more than 100 countries worldwide and with 80% of volumes generated outside Italy. Overall, from 2007 to the present, more than 2 million 110 thousand Fiat 500 cars have been built, rising to more than 6 million when added to those of the model’s predecessor, produced from 1957 to 1977, making it one of the best-selling Fiat models of all time”.
The iconic 500 continues to delight with its timeless style and its POP essence, which, supported by its sleek, rounded line, brings smiles to faces on roads all over the world. Without a doubt, the secrets of its success include the sequence of more than 30 special series, based on Fiat 500 and Abarth 595, which have appeared from 2007 to the present. In fact, while always remaining true to its own identity, the Fiat 500 has transformed itself to access fresh territories, such as technology, fashion and luxury yacht design, creating the opportunities to meet new targets, constantly renewing yet retaining its status as a timeless icon. And this strategy has confirmed its success in 2018, with the 500 Mirror, 500 Collezione and 500 Spiaggina ’58 special series. To crown the achievements of 2018, a truly wonderful year, last December it was announced that on 10 February, during the “The Value of Good Design”, exhibition, the historic Fiat 500 F series car purchased by the MoMA in New York, will be put on public display for the first time, confirming its symbolic importance on the global design scene.
The first special series to debut in 2018 was the high-tech 500 Mirror in January, with a virtual press conference where Luca Napolitano presented the potentials of the new 500 Mirror family to 200 journalists from all over Europe connected in real time, as well as the 1,500 reached over then next
72 hours. This innovative series confirmed Fiat’s tradition of “democratising” access to increasingly high-tech technologies that simplify the lives of both drivers and passengers. In particular, the Mirror special series of the 500, 500X and 500L models were equipped with standard with the innovative UconnectTM 7″ HD LIVE touchscreen system, Apple CarPlay* ready and compatible with Android AutoTM. Identified by the exclusive dark blue liveries, clearly referencing the aesthetics of technology and connectivity, the three Mirror special series also marked the debut of Mopar Connect, the system of roadside assistance and real-time vertical control services, all accessed via smartphone.
From the technological innovation of the Mirror versions to the sophisticated high fashion intrinsic to the 500 Collezione “Primavera” and 500 Collezione “Autunno” special series, which marked the Fiat brand’s return to the world of haute couture. This was the first territory into which the model ventured, with great success, from its earliest days, through the 500C by Gucci and 500 by Diesel special series. Each characterised by specific liveries and exclusive colour and material combinations – one in more feminine and the other in more masculine taste – the two new 500 Collezione special series greeted the arrival of the spring and autumn seasons with distinctive colour-schemes.
The first 500 Collezione edition, in its exquisite two-colour “Spring” livery, was launched last April in Milan, at the start of a tour of the international fashion, style and art capitals. After Italy’s chief fashion hub, it was the turn of London, the metropolis that is home to the largest number of iconic 500 cars outside Italy, continuing in vibrant Berlin, on the romantic Seine-side quais in Paris, and finally in the heart of Madrid.
Five marvellous locations, starting a theme continued at the end of October with the debut of the second 500 Collezione special series, inspired by autumn and men’s fashions, which went on show at Rinascente in Milan, one of the world’s best known department stores, “wearing” a sophisticated “Brunello” two-tone livery enhanced by an exquisite Copper colour waistrail and pin-strip fabric interior. For the first time the historic Milan store, where fashion becomes affordable, was the location for an automotive press event, alongside a top brand in men’s fashion, “L’Uomo Vogue”, with which it shares the values of elegance and attention to details In 2018 the Fiat 500 also ventured into Heritage territory, a universe with strong affinities to the Italian brand’s impressive legacy reaching back more than a century. In particular, Milan was also the location, on 4 July, for a glamorous event at which 130 guests, including journalists, famous personalities and influencers, celebrated both the birthday of the Fiat icon, born in 1957, and the 60th anniversary of the famous 500 Jolly launched in 1958, better known as the “Spiaggina”, the legendary little car’s first special series and symbol of the “Dolce Vita”. This dual anniversary was marked by creation of the 500 Spiaggina ’58 special series,, an authentic cult object, produced in a limited edition units and with exquisite design features. Only available as a convertible, for full enjoyment of the summer weather and the appeal of a historic era indelibly imprinted in the collective memory. And as befits a star of the “Dolce Vita”, the new special series “wears” a splendid Volare Blue livery, with beige soft-top, shown off by the white waistrail and the vintage-design 16″
alloy wheels. Last but not least, two additional tributes were created to celebrate 4 July: a video to the notes of the song “Volare”, the ever-popular Italian classic sung by Domenico Modugno at the Sanremo Festival actually in 1958, the year when the historic 500 Spiaggina was born, and the “Spiaggina by Garage Italia” showcar, built by the Garage Italia creative hub and the Pininfarina style centre and based on the Fiat 500C with unique features evoking the spirit of those years.
From Milan to Palermo, from Italy’s most international city to a pearl of the Mediterranean. Always starring the 500 and its timeless style. In October, in fact, the Sicilian capital hosted the debut of the new Abarth 595 range, the latest incarnation of the famous Scorpion 500, expressing the two sides of its personality: performance and style. The new Abarth 595 was unveiled to an audience of fans during the Classic re-evocation of the legendary “Targa Florio”, the world’s oldest motorsports race. Karl Abarth was closely associated with the Targa Florio, starting right after the War, as Sicily’s winding roads seem to be tailor-made for showing off his racing cars’ qualities. So the Scorpion and the Targa share a close bond, and a history of racing successes and memorable anecdotes. After all, anyone admiring these historic cars that won Abarth its status as a racing legend will easily appreciate how, over the years, the tough testing ground of racing has shaped the priceless heritage of style and performance that has given us the cars of today.”
CAPTION: Stylish: The Fiat 500. Picture: Quickpic