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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey,

I was thinking about how the launch of the 500 compared to other "retro" cars back in the day.

The Beetle and the PT Cruiser can't be compared, they were part of a bigger family of cars. VW and Chrysler didn't depend on them for survival (not that it did much good to Chrysler, anyway).

I was thinking about MINI. Sure, they are part of BMW, but they established their own identity and network. And now, they have the Cooper, S, Cabrio (with the S variant), Clubman (and the S), the off-road wannabe, and soon, a Coupe.

My point is - even though they started small, they did so with two cars - not one. I believe FIATs biggest mistake is not selling the Abarth. They need a "halo" car, a car that enthusiasts can rally around, and create some good publicity for the brand - say, people who come in just to take a look at the awesomeness of the Scorpion-branded little car.

Just the way the original Cooper S did for the rest of the MINI line.

I don't know if there are any other cars that could be of interest to North America from Fiat. The Punto is too "meh". Perhaps the Bravo, but it's nothing special. I'd think Fiat's reputation depends entirely on the 500 and its derivatives.

FIAT, if you are reading, bring on the Abarth...
 

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Fiat will be bringing the abarth to america very shortly. The delay is that Abarth has to redesign everything for the car because its an entire new car compared to the european version. Parts from the euro car will not fit the american car and since the american version will now be the world wide version they have a little modifying to do.

Fiat i believe is also looking into bringing the alfa mito over. So just hold tight for now before all the cars come out. Biggest thing is that is holding a lot of dealership up is that chrysler and fiat are in a pissing match where chrysler has told fiat they need cars before they build showroom but fiat told chrysler to build a show room before they give cars. Fiat got screwed over when they were here during the 80s when chrysler sales men would not sell the alfas and fiat nor would the mechanics even work on them because they had no training.

I personally think its great that Fiat is coming back to america and i hope their image gets turned around where they can be competitive. Its the newest market to hit america. Just about every other car out there has been modified to the extreme so its nice there's something new coming along.

Once the abarth does come out, I doubt there will be several version like there is in europe due to american don't want to choose between 6 different fiat 500's. I know for sure the suspension on the abarth for the american version will be softer than its european cousin. Also the power will slightly be higher and i believe it will only come in the automated gear box (no manual with clutch pedal but don't mark my words on the gearbox).

If the fiat 500 does take off as well as everyone hopes it does, then i believe there will also be some fiat 500 challenge races like you see ferrari doing with their 430s 458s fxxs 599xxs and so on. There is a lot of potential with fiat coming to america, but they have to do it just right since they are technically late in the game for a small compact car.

Jon
 

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the Abarth IS coming. its a given. their biggest mistake so far is LACK OF MARKETING. NO ads on TV. NO ads in print. NOTHING.

yes, they have announced they'll begin their marketing campaign on July 4th, but many of their FIAT Studios have been open since the first of March....struggling, with no assistance from the factory.

just as they say 'location, location, location' is the rule of thumb in real estate, 'advertise, advertise, advertise' can be said of the auto industry.
 

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Fiat of South bay in West LA has commercials out.

But they are pretty much "insert car here *" with a fiat on a winding canyon road blahdy blahy blah. I want to see some nice print work like mini had. Clever ads, magazine inserts...playfulness, viral marketing. N-E -THING
 

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I would say their timing (or lack thereof) has been their worst enemy.

They should have had a clear model rollout date and a clear dealer opening schedule. There are way too many decent models out right now from other brands, and people aren't just going to sit around and wait for information and dealer openings to drip out of the corporate faucet. A $20k car is more appliance than a fun car, so people who will buy the 500 will actually need it for their commutes, etc. And you can't expect people to just sit by their computers, and hit the "refresh" button on fiatusa.com for updates.

Fast500 - I hope you're right about the Mito (beautiful small car) and wrong about the slushbox on the Abarth - that would truly be a tragedy.
 

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FIAT does have commercials on TV and in print / online.

I would say some type of trade in incentive would help move more cars off the lot since the FIAT dealers I have been to in the NY/NJ/PA area are all about making money and not interested in actually selling cars and building the brand.
 

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Considering that Fiat managed to acquire a huge block of Chrysler (@40%) without putting a dime into the company, I think it's safe to say that Sergio knows what he's doing. This is called a slow rolling start. You guys would be screaming hysterically if they had a huge advertising launch before the studios were ready. As it is, product orders aren't getting out so fast, and the studios and mechanics are learning on the fly. IMO, it's much more important for them to take time before rolling out new products and ensuring that reliability continues to improve than flooding the market with untested Abarths.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
"Untested Abarths".

Wouldn't that apply to our "Untested" 500's and 500c's, too? After all, they are new model cars.

I still think that the sooner FIAT gets the Abarth on sale, the better their chances of success.

And no, I don't think our cars are appliances. An appliance is the Ford Fiesta, the Mazda 2, the Fit or the Yaris...
 

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I would say their timing (or lack thereof) has been their worst enemy.
There are way too many decent models out right now from other brands, and people aren't just going to sit around and wait for information and dealer openings to drip out of the corporate faucet. A $20k car is more appliance than a fun car, so people who will buy the 500 will actually need it for their commutes, etc. And you can't expect people to just sit by their computers, and hit the "refresh" button on fiatusa.com for updates.
I would not be caught dead in any of the "decent models" you have listed. I did not buy this car for its only for its "appliance qualitys". I am a fiat guy from the 80s and an Alfa Romero guy from the 90s. At this point of my life... this little car is more an "accessory" than anything else. I may be a minority demographic though.
Triumph!
 

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Yeah, people looking at the Fiat are not looking at it as an appliance. You can pick up a brand new, gorgeous looking Hyundai Accent hatch with more room, more power, better fuel economy, 6 speed manual, etc. for a few grand less than our car. And don't tell me about it being a Hyundai; all of their new cars are spectacular and the 2012 Accent has as much in common with the 2011 as this 500 does with the original.

People are looking at the 500 because it is a fun, stylish ride.
 

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Triumph, you have my post confused with the OP's. I didn't list any alternatives.

By "appliance" vs. "fun car", I meant using it as your primary daily driver vs. a fun, weekend car. And yeah, a larger majority by far will be using their 500s as a DD than a autox/track weekend car, obviously.

I wasn't saying that the 500 isn't fun, btw. Having done a drive around Soho from their studio there in a manual-equipped one, I can see the potential to make it a fun commuter car. And have hopes that waiting for the Abarth next year will rachet that up a bit.
 

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Gotta agree with Triumph. While I'm intrigued by the fiesta and respect it's design and Ford's Sync, I couldn't bother myself to even visit a Ford Dealership. Cars I actually have looked at and considered have run the gamut from a BMW 3 touring, X1, the Mini Cooper S, Honda Insight (was tempted with a $4,000 rebate), WRX, and the VW Golf TDI. Not quite appliances, except for the Insight which was a total appliance, but represented a huge amount of technological wizardry for a tiny price premium.

Strangely, the only other car I was very tempted by was the TDI, but I didn't buy it due to reliability issues with the TDI's fuel pump system. Which is hilarious when you think that I was more comfortable buying a Fiat!
 

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Did anyone see a post from me about my mother's Yaris and why I liked the Fiat 500? I seem to have vanished.
 
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