The Fiat 500 demonstrates just how successful retro-themed motoring can be. When it was launched in 2007 (50 years to the day since the launch of the original Fiat 500), it showed just how successfully an old but much-loved design could be reimagined for modern buyers, combing vintage charm and cheekiness with the kind of safety features, comfort, fuel economy and running costs buyers today have come to expect.
President Trump has been in office for over a week now, and his efforts to motivate automakers to manufacture vehicles in the U.S. have so far been met with controversy and mixed results. There’s been a substantial amount of press over Ford’s decision to cancel a $1.6 billion assembly plant in Mexico, while still moving small-car production (notably, the Ford Focus) to Ford’s existing Hermosillo Stamping and Assembly plant. The Ford Focus has been in the spotlight, but it’s worth noting that there are many more models that could be affected by Trump’s theoretical 35% tariff. In fact, the automotive industry in Mexico has had a long and stable history. Continue reading >>>
When the price of gas was getting close to $5 per gallon, Americans clamored for small, economical European cars such as the Fiat 500.
Fiat obliged after taking over Chrysler, and not only did it bring the 500 to U.S. shores, but it brought an entire family of 500-based cars including the 500L and 500X. Americans should have been thrilled. We should have flocked to our local Fiat dealerships and begged them to take our money.
That didn’t happen. Instead, dealers have struggled to even get the car in front of people, which has put the 500 among the slowest-selling vehicles in America. What happened? How did Fiat go from a desirable foreign brand to being shunned on dealer lots?
Fun fact: Barbie’s awesome wardrobe wasn’t what made her cool. Her sweet dream house didn’t make her cool, her friend Ken didn’t make her cool, and her absurd, unattainable, and potentially psychologically debilitating body proportions certainly didn’t make her cool either. What made Barbie cool was her hot pink convertible. A quick Google search indicates that Barbie has owned a wide range of convertibles in her lifetime, all of which were hot pink. Yes, she went through the regrettable VW Beetle phase, and it looks like at one point she was driving around in a Suzuki Cappuccino, but she also had one with a distinctly Aston Martin grill – if pressed, we’d guess it’s a one-off Vanquish, customized by Mattel.
Mother’s Day is quickly approaching, and if you still haven’t gotten Mom that gift to show her you appreciate all those years she lost out to raising the fine individual you have become, you might want to look into some quick gift ideas. So head to the flower shop, pick up a nice heartfelt card from the convenience store down on the corner, or head over to a used-car lot and pick her up something nice. If you really wanted to show Mom how much you appreciated your childhood, maybe you should get her a car that takes her back to a time before she had kids. Get her something sporty, something fun, something that will remind her of her more carefree days.
“It’s an ugly little thing, isn’t it?”
The FIAT 500L was stopped at a light, one car length ahead, in the lane next to us. My wife, an aficionado of sexy car design, thinks the standard 500 is somewhat cute, but finds the 500L to be a disproportioned beast not unlike a freakishly large baby hippopotamus.
The 500L is a bit of a misnomer, since it’s supposed to be the “big” version of a tiny car. The result is a car that isn’t big but isn’t tiny and ended up caught somewhere in the middle. It’s really quite an unfortunate sight.
When the new 500X hits the streets later this year, I’m wondering if FIAT will finally have its sales superstar or just another marginally popular niche vehicle.
On the list of things that make me happy, few items rank higher than high-powered cars that aren’t supposed to be high-powered.
Think along the lines of the Nissan Juke-R, which managed to stuff a GT-R drivetrain into a normal Juke (or placed a Juke body over a GT-R drivetrain, depending on how you look at it). Either way, the result is fantastically ridiculous.
There’s really no limit to the craziness that can come out of the combination of a small car with a high-power drivetrain. With the right resources, all a guy has to do is search through some used car listings, find an appropriate project car, purchase a supercar engine and then spend a few hours in the garage. Easy enough, right?
Yahoo! Finance has determined, perhaps as nothing more than a way to generate year-end web traffic, that those two new cars were some of the biggest product flops of 2011, right up there with Qwikster.
Yes, sales have been a disappointment, but calling them flops is a bit unfair and premature. Well, for one car, anyway.
Once upon time, buying a commuter car meant sacrificing any hope of an enjoyable driving experience. If you wanted something fun and good looking, you’d have to buy a secondary sports car for the weekends. Weekday commuter cars, at least in the U.S., were inexpensive, fuel efficient and reliable, but about as plain and boring as ordering vanilla ice cream in a parlor of 46 million flavors.
Our economy might be in a sinkhole, but that doesn’t mean people have forgotten about a fun driving experience. We just want it to come in under 20 grand or so while getting good miles per gallon and looking at least somewhat exciting. Like paying the price for vanilla but getting a nice cup of Ben & Jerry’s Schweddy Balls instead.
Keep reading for some of the most fun and good looking commuters available today!
Fiat is doing a cool thing in marketing its 500 for the U.S. It is introducing a veritable profusion of models/trims, presumably so that buyers can have a customized, personalized car.
Will the gambit work? We happen to think the 500 is a great car to begin with. Adding special features may well attract people who fancy its uniqueness—and want more of it. With famous names like Abarth and Zagato, the appeal to sports car fans will be strong.
The Zagato Coupe (above), shown at Geneva, has the famous double-bubble roof of the classic 1950s Z-cars, with some engine tweaking and a beautiful take on the basic 500 design. Even if you don’t know the history, the appeal is there.