Fiat 500 & July 4
The 239th anniversary of July 4, 1776, occurred last Saturday, which was notable primarily in the United States, due to the crafting of the Declaration of Independence.
The 50th anniversary of July 4, 1957, also occurred last Saturday, which was notable primarily in Italy, due to the introduction of the first Fiat 500.
In 1776, the population of the United States was about 2.5-million. Fifty years later the population was 9.6-million.
Since 1957, the number of Fiat 500s sold is approximately 3.8-million, of which 1.5-million were sold between 2007 and now, with 2007 being the year that the current-generation 500 was launched.
Which just goes to show you that populations rise faster than car models sell.
Anyway, in keeping with an anniversary theme, last Saturday Fiat launched the New 500 at the Lingotto in Turin, Italy. The Lingotto was a Fiat factory from 1923 to 1982. It has been recreated as a public facility.
Back to the New 500.
Well, maybe that should be “Newish 500,” because it has a refreshed exterior and interior and, according to Fiat, 1,800 “innovative details.”
Some of these details are minor, like new interior materials.
Some are major, like an increased range of engines, including a 0.9-liter (!), 85- or 105-hp TwinAir Engine that features two cylinders and a 1.2-liter 69-hp, that comes in two variants, gasoline or bi-fuel.
The vehicle will be available as coupe and a convertible.
While we don’t know at this time when it might be coming to the U.S., it probably can’t be too soon. According to FCA US LLC, so far this year, through June, it has sold 15,390 500s in the U.S., which is down 15% compared with 2014’s sales.
Back in 2012 Audi bought Italian motorcycle manufacturer extraordinaire Ducati for €860-million which, at the time, probably seemed like a good idea.
When you think of Costco, you probably think about buying lots of stuff for your home and your family, but there are probably some things that don’t necessarily come to mind when you think of the membership-based store chain.
The common wisdom seems to be that midsize cars have pretty much had it in the U.S. new car market.