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Fiat 500

New Tesla-inspired ELECTRIC Fiat 500 confirmed for next year

Fiat 500 Fiat CEO Olivier Francois has confirmed an all-new electric-only Fiat 500 will launch at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show. And the new city car will be inspired by Tesla.

“We should think of the new 500 EV as an urban Tesla,” he said. “The beautiful style, coolness of concept, the statement it makes that the driver is cool, refined, sophisticated and cultivated.”

Although this means the entry-level price of the electric 500 may increase, Francois is not concerned. Half of customers already pay between £19,000 and £21,000 to buy a high-spec 500.

Fiat sold almost 200,000 500s last year. Taking a theoretical £26,000 entry-level price for a supermini-sized electric car, Francois argued that, once government incentives are factored in, Fiat already has evidence 100,000 people are prepared to pay what an electric 500 may cost.

Fiat 500

The current model, he added, will remain on sale, as a ‘classic 500’, with a range of small petrol engines. “We will keep on updating it to keep it fresh.”

Shifting the new 500 to an electric-only model is only possible because of the strength of the 500 brand. “People love the 500. Some will take it as an electric car even if they don’t need it. We will not lose customers by going only EV.”

Fiat will use sales of the zero-emission electric 500, along with a potential electric replacement for the Panda, to keep its European FCA fleet CO2 emissions within 2021 targets. 

“Small cars do not make lots of profits, but the contribution they can make to our group emissions will allow us to sell greater numbers of higher-margin Jeeps, Maseratis and Alfa Romeos.” 

Fiat has Christmas Eve all wrapped up for Londoners

Fiat 500 wrapped

This Christmas Eve, it isn’t just Santa who will be dropping in on residents of central London. Fiat is deploying a fleet of elves* armed with scissors, wrapping paper, sticky tape and gift tags for those who have left the wrapping to the last minute.

*They’re not elves. They’re actually people employed by Fiat and given a 500 city car for the night before Christmas.

Four Fiat 500s will be jostling for position with the dads making an eleventh-hour visit to the 24-hour garage for some late pressie inspiration and the pizza delivery guys in search of festive tips.

Members of the public who are caught short of wrapping paper or Sellotape (other brands are available) will be able to call on the free 500 Little Helper service by using the #WrappedbyFiat on Twitter and Instagram.

Fiat will despatch a ‘crack team of gift-wrap-wielding helper elves’ to the door, but the service is restricted to zones 1 and 2 in central London. Are you 100 percent sure they’re proper elves, Fiat, or do you sit on a throne of lies?

Should Londoners expect someone more akin to Buddy the Elf?

Son of a nutcracker!

Fiat 500 wrap

Andrea Lo Presti, Fiat marketing director, said: “The Fiat 500 is a car that spreads cheer and happiness everywhere it goes, so it’s fitting that it should be there for you to ensure your Christmas celebrations go without a glitch.”

Yeah, sure, but as every son of a nutcracker knows, the best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear. Still, a Fiat 500 loaded with Sellotape and gift tags is a close second to singing. Unless the Fiat ‘elf’ turns up singing, in which case this is like all of your Christmas dreams coming true at once.

All hashtag requests will be monitored and processed from 5pm to 10.30pm on Christmas Eve, but a request is no guarantee that a delivery will take place.

Those who find themselves wrapped up in a crisis need to use the #WrappedbyFiat hashtag and state ‘Help me!’ on Twitter and Instagram. A postcode is required.

We suspect Fiat won’t want to hear from you if you’ve forgotten to buy the cranberry sauce, failed to buy the sherry for Aunt Flo or you’re looking for a lift back from the nightclub.

500 Spiaggina 58

Spiaggina 58 – the latest uber-cool Fiat 500

 

500 Spiaggina 58

The Spiaggina 58 is the latest special in a long line of bespoke 500s. The models appeal clearly isn’t waining even in its 11th year in production.

If you google “La Dolce Vita” a few things come up. First, the cult classic movie from 1961 and second, the phrase born of the film’s name that it cemented, meaning something like “The good life, full of pleasure and indulgence” or, literally translated from Italian: “the sweet life”.

That’s exactly what this charming new Fiat 500 special edition wishes to embody, along with celebrating a couple of anniversaries and the era in which the original cultivated its icon. The new Spiaggina 58 celebrates both the 60th anniversary of the first 500 special – the Jolly Spiaggina – and the year of that special’s birth.

What’s changed?

This 1,958-limited production run car is packed with distinctive details that mark it out as a Spiaggina 58.

First and foremost, that exclusive colour – Volare Blue. Fiat describes it as “a name and colour that takes us straight back to 1958, to the Sanremo Festival of that year, when a young Domenico Modugno teamed up with Johnny Dorelli to give the first public performance of “Nel blu dipinto di blu”, the famous song also known as Volare”.

As well as the colour and the “white belt liner”, you’ll notice the ultra-cool retro wheels and Fiat badging, along with the convertible-only configuration and two-tone cabin.

While the production special edition joins a host of different 500 specials and specifications, the show car – developed by Garage Italia and Pininfarina – goes even further to capture the spirit of the original Spiaggina Jolly spirit. A roll hoop, folding tailgate and decking evoke the original Spiaggina “Beach Buggy” build by Carrozzeria Ghia.

Whether customers will be rallying their Spiaggina 58 500Cs across sun-blasted sandy beaches this summer remains to be seen. Regardless, the new special serves as a pleasant reminder of the rich heritage and cultural significance of the original model.

A heart-over-head buy, perhaps, but then the modern 500 has always majored on fashion and coolness, so what harm is there in yet another romanticised special edition? La Dolce Vita indeed.

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The 2 millionth Fiat 500

Fiat has now built 2 million new 500 city cars

The 2 millionth Fiat 500The success story of the new Fiat 500 continues, with the company announcing the two millionth reborn retro city car has been produced at the factory in Tychy, Poland.

The total comes 11 years after the current car was introduced. Although it’s been updated several times, it’s still the original recreation, making its current sales rate of over 200,000 a year even more impressive.

Indeed, for five years running, the 500 has been the best-selling city car in Europe, despite the constant arrival of newer rivals. Last year, it had a market share of almost 15 percent, and the latest quarterly sales of almost 60,000 is actually an all-time record.

The Fiat 500 is the favourite city car of the UK, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Portugal, Austria, Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia. It’s also a top-three in Italy, Germany, France, Sweden, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria.

It’s fair to say Europeans still love the Fiat 500.

They also love special edition 500s, it seems: there have been 30 of them in the 11 years the new car’s been on sale. UK 500 prices may well start from £11,620, but many buyers are still happy to spend plenty more on top.

Current specials include the Collezione, which is a follow-on from last year’s 500-60th and Anniversario models, built to mark 60 years of the 500.

The new car still has some way to go to beat sales of the original 500, though. Twice as many were sold following its introduction in 1957, although in fairness, rivals were far fewer in number back then. Whether Fiat decides to keep the current car in production for another decade in order to chase the original’s sales figure remains to be seen…

Fiat Chrysler could axe all diesel cars by 2022

Fiat Chrysler could axe all diesel cars by 2022

Fiat Chrysler could axe all diesel cars by 2022

Fiat Chrysler is expected to announce plans to ditch all diesel engines from its line-up as soon as 2022.

That’s according to reports ahead of a four-year plan set to be revealed in June. FCA, which includes Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Jeep in its portfolio, is currently facing lawsuits in America for allegedly using defeat devices to reduce emissions in official tests – in a similar way Volkswagen Group did, triggering the Dieselgate scandal.

FCA isn’t the first manufacturer to announce plans to ditch diesel engines. Just last week, Porsche announced that it would be dropping diesels from its range (although it insisted that might not be permanent), while Volvo revealed its move away from diesel last year by saying that all its cars would feature some form of electrification by 2019.

Diesel has been falling out of favour in recent years, with registrations of diesel cars dropping by 17 percent in the UK in 2017. The decline has been attributed to ongoing concerns over emissions, worries about legislation and even uncertainty over reliability. It’s not just private buyers worried about diesel, either – even company car drivers are shifting away from the fuel.

Data from Jato Dynamics reveals that sales of diesel vehicles across Europe fell by eight percent last year, reducing its market share to 43.8 percent.

However, FCA actually witnessed a rise in its share of diesel sales last year – mainly because of its popularity in Italy, where demand for diesel remains strong.

Although the forthcoming announcement is likely to detail FCA pulling diesel engines from all its passenger cars, the company will continue to provide a choice of diesel engines for its commercial vehicles.

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30-second news: this €5 coin celebrates 60 years of the Fiat 500

30-second news: this €5 coin celebrates 60 years of the Fiat 500

30-second news: this €5 coin celebrates 60 years of the Fiat 500

The Italian State Mint has released a limited-run €5 coin to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Fiat 500.

An original 1957 Fiat 500 features on one side of the coin along with the current model, along with the words ‘Repubblica Italiana’ (Italian Republic). The reverse shows the profile of a classic 500 with the dates 1957 and 2017 – the year the first Fiat 500 was produced and the year the coin was minted – as well as the coin’s €5 face value.

Although the coin is only worth €5 if you spend it in shops, collectors will need to pay €40 if they wish to order it directly from the Italian Mint. Only 4,000 of the coins will be produced.

>NEXT: Leicester is a classic car hotspot

Fiat breaks world record (and it's not for the reasons you think)

Fiat breaks world record (and it's not for the reasons you'd expect)

Nearly 1,500 lucky winners collected their new Fiat 500s in less than two days following a competition held between the car firm and Italian supermarket chain Esselunga. With an official Guinness World Record judge in attendance, Fiat managed to set the record for the most cars handed over within 48 hours.

Based on the Fiat 500 1.2 Lounge, a special edition model was made for the record attempt, featuring Pastel white paint, an exclusive ‘Esselunga’ badge on the pillar and a numbered plaque inside. Chrome mirror caps and Colour Therapy 14-inch wheels complete the look.


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The world record bid took place at Fiat’s Mirafiori plant in Turin, where 1,520 brand new Fiat 500s lined the plant’s test track. Of those, a total of 1,495 were collected by new owners who travelled from all over Italy.

“This record and Fiat’s partnership with Esselunga confirm the unique personality that has been central to the Fiat 500 throughout its history and helped ensure its worldwide success,” said the car manufacturer in a statement.

“Esselunga decided to celebrate its sixtieth anniversary in business by selecting an outstanding, truly unique car to reward the loyalty of the customers who continue to choose the products and services offered to them every day, affirming the values of customer-focus and uniqueness that Fiat and Esselunga share.”

It’s not the first official world record to be broken by a car manufacturer. At the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2015, Jaguar took the F-Pace through a loop-the-loop setting a world record of 19.8 metres. Stunt driver Terry Grant was at the wheel.

In 2013, an American managed to break the record for the furthest distance pushing a car in 24 hours. Joey Motsay shoved a Fiat 500 50 miles around a car park raising money for charity in the process.

Drivers are stopping for selfies with an abandoned Fiat Multipla

Drivers are stopping for selfies with an abandoned Fiat Multipla

Sales of the Fiat Multipla were slow when it was launched in 1998 – with many struggling to see past its love-it-or-hate-it styling. And indeed, it appears one owner of a Multipla couldn’t face being seen in it any longer – so abandoned it in a layby in Shropshire.

The Multipla is said to have been parked alongside a dual carriageway section of the A5 near Shrewsbury for a number of months now. It’s not known how it came to be left there – but it’s not unforeseeable that an ageing Fiat has more than its quirky looks going against it.

It’s been there so long that it’s become something of a landmark for drivers heading towards Wales on the A5 – and it’s even had a Twitter account set up in its name, with fans stopping for selfies with the ‘Lonely A5 Fiat’.

Some are calling for the car, which has been left with one wheel on the pavement, to be crushed by the DVLA – while others want local mechanics to give it a new lease of life. The person behind the Twitter account, who has not been identified, clearly has a sense of humour – jesting that a BMW abandoned nearby is ‘posh’, and asking drivers to use their windscreen washers when passing in hot weather.

The Twitter account was set up on June 13th and now has more than 400 followers wanting updates on the abandoned car.

Fiat gave the Multipla a major facelift in 2004 in a bid to attract more customers, but axed the controversial model in 2010 after 12 years on sale.


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Porsche tops list of Europe's most popular classics

Porsche tops list of Europe's most popular classicsClassic Trader, Europe’s largest classic car trading website, has announced that the total value of vehicles currently on sale on the site has eclipsed €1 billion for the first time. To mark the occasion, the website has revealed the most popular makes and models, ranked by the number of listings that currently appear on the site.

Porsche dominates the list, with four different 911s appearing in the top ten. Here, we rank the cars in reverse order.

10. Jaguar E-type Series 1Porsche tops list of Europe's most popular classics

Average asking price: £139,100

With an average asking price of £139,100, the Jaguar E-type S1 – or XKE in the US – is the most valuable car in the top 10 and arguably the most beautiful. “If a new car ever created greater excitement around our office than the new Jaguar XKE, we can’t remember it”, said Road & Track in September 1961.

The E-Type went on sale in 1961 with a bargain price tag, including taxes, of £2,097 for the convertible and £2,196 for the coupe. It was replaced in 1968 by the less desirable, and therefore less valuable, Series 2.

9. Mercedes-Benz SL R129Porsche tops list of Europe's most popular classics

Average asking price: £19,100

Few cars have aged as well as the Mercedes-Benz SL R129. Unveiled at the 1989 Geneva Motor Show, the response was so positive, anyone who placed an order was forced to accept a delivery period of several years. Production continued until 2001, by which time more than 200,000 units had rolled off the Bremen production line.

The last truly beautiful Mercedes (discuss…) was the first car to feature an automatic roll-over bar, along with a soft-top that could be opened or closed within 30 seconds. The most common model is the 5.0-litre V8, with some 79,827 units built, while the entry-level SL 280 V6 is the rarest.

8. Porsche 993Porsche tops list of Europe's most popular classics

Average asking price: £81,900

If Mercedes-Benz struggled to keep up with demand for the R129, Porsche had a similar ‘problem’ with the 993. Launched in 1994, the 993 was able to boast a series of technical and visual changes, with only the doors and front bonnet carried over from the 964.

As the last air-cooled Porsche, the 993 is one of the most sought-after 911s on the classic car market, hence the average asking price. In the Ultimate History of Porsche, current editor of Evo magazine, Stuart Gallagher, wrote: “The fact that Porsche arrived at this beautifully honed vehicle when it did is fitting, because as the sun set on 1997 the air-cooled 911 had come to the end of its long and illustrious life.”

7. Alfa Romeo GiuliaPorsche tops list of Europe's most popular classics

Average asking price: £30,700

The Alfa Romeo Giulia was introduced in 1962 and wouldn’t bow out until 1977. In that time it evolved and spawned many variants, establishing the Alfa Romeo brand as we know it today. Regardless of the body shape, the Giulia was a true drivers’ car.

According to Classic Trader, the cars featured in the top 10 represent almost 12% of the total trading volume on the website, resulting in sales of €118 million. Other cars, such as the Citroen LNA, Saab 90 and Toyota Tercel weren’t able to contribute quite as much.

6. Mercedes-Benz SL W113Porsche tops list of Europe's most popular classics

Average asking price: £83,600

The fact that three generations of Mercedes-Benz SL appear in the top 10 suggests that the car is in strong demand. The W113 had the unenviable task of following the first generation SL, something it managed with startling ease. It’s all about the oh-so-pretty styling, with its hardtop earning it the nickname of ‘Pagoda’.

In truth, the second coming of the SL was more boulevard cruiser than it was precision instrument, but it remained a thing of beauty. This was the first sports car to feature crumple zones and a rigid passenger cell.

5. Fiat 500Porsche tops list of Europe's most popular classics

Average asking price: £9,800

The smallest car in the top 10 has a fittingly small price tag. The Fiat Nuova 500 was unveiled in 1957 and helped mobilise an entire nation. It measured just 9-feet long and was one of the very first city cars ever built. Perfect for navigating the congested streets of Turin, Rome and Milan.

The early cars featured suicide doors, but these were phased out in 1965 amid safety fears. Nearly 3.5 million units were built before production ceased in 1975 and the 500 was replaced by the 126.

4. Porsche 964Porsche tops list of Europe's most popular classics

Average asking price: £62,300

To the untrained eye, the Porsche 964 looked like an evolution of the outgoing 911, but it was in fact 85% new. The Carrera 4 was the first 911 to feature an all-wheel drive system, sending 31% of the torque to the front and 69% to the rear.

Power was sourced from a 3.6-litre flat-six engine, itself a development of the 3.2-litre unit found in the outgoing 3.2 Carrera. The all-wheel drive 964 may have upset the purists, but it appealed to a broader and affluent audience, with strong sales helping to secure Porsche’s future. Besides, a rear-wheel-drive variant arrived in 1990.

3. Mercedes-Benz SL R107Porsche tops list of Europe's most popular classics

Average asking price: £24,700

The SL R107 enjoyed a near two-decade production run, making it the second longest single series Mercedes-Benz after the G-Class. Just like its predecessors, the R107 – introduced in 1971 – was a huge hit on the tree-lined boulevards of America.

At the time of preparing this feature, there are 626 Mercedes-Benz SL models for sale on Classic Trader. Prices range from £3,995 for a 1982 380 SL to £1.6 million for a 1956 300 SL ‘Gullwing’.

2. Porsche 911 pre-impact bumperPorsche tops list of Europe's most popular classics

Average asking price: £98,100

In 1974, Porsche was forced into redesigning the 911 to satisfy new US safety regulations. The result was the so-called ‘impact bumper’, designed to keep their shape in the event of a 5mph accident. Many would argue that the new bumper only served to dilute the purity of the original 911.

The Porsche 901 – renamed the 911 as of model year 1965 – was unveiled at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show as a successor to the 356. Right now, there are more than 1,000 Porsche of all types for sale on Classic Trader, with prices ranging from £15,215 to £1.4 million.

1. Porsche 911 impact bumperPorsche tops list of Europe's most popular classics

Average asking price: £55,500

Regardless of what you think about the impact bumpers, the G-Series remains one of the most iconic 911s of all-time. It was, after all, the sports car so beloved of the ‘Yuppie’ generation, all red braces, shoulder pads and mobile phones the size of bricks.

The design of the impact bumpers differed according to the market. In the US, the bumpers were connected to the body using hydraulic impact absorbers, while non-US cars used more cost-effective impact pipes. In 1989, the G-Series was replaced by the 964.

Red cars called Mick Hucknall - and other best and worst car names

Red cars called Mick Hucknall – and other best and worst car names

Red cars called Mick Hucknall - and other best and worst car names

Apparently we’re a nation who like to name our cars – with more than half of young adults aged between 25 and 34 admitting to the dubious act.

That’s according to research by Fiat – makers of the 500, the car the most likely to sport eyelashes over its headlights. Probably.

Weird and wonderful names discovered by the car manufacturer include Thor the Thunderbolt, The Anti-Christ and a red car named after Simply Red singer, Mick Hucknall.

Other bizarre names include Turtle, The Mummytruck, Stig, Sexy Rexy, Keith, Mudslick, Hedwig, Kim John Brum, Popeye, and Marv.

The survey found that 27% of adults name their car, while one in 10 men describe their motor as “like a person.” That’s a trifle worrying.

Fiat UK’s brand communications manager, Toni Gaventa, said: “Our cars take us on wondrous journeys and enable us to have unbelievable experiences – it’s little wonder we have such a close bond to them and name them. Cars are more than just transportation – they are extensions of ourselves and represent our personality and there are no cars on the market that have more personality than a Fiat.” Er… OK then.

He goes on to say that celebrities are the biggest source of inspiration for car names, and one in five cars are given a ‘gender-neutral’ name. Apparently this anthropomorphism goes as far as not wanting to offend non-binary vehicles.

Dying to know what the top names are or perhaps looking for inspiration for your own set of wheels? Here you go:

  1. Betty
  2. Percy
  3. Alfie
  4. Fred
  5. Herbie
  6. Matilda
  7. Bumble
  8. Optimus
  9. Harry
  10. Florence