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Monday, September 20, 2010

Reserving a Fiat 500 Prima Edizione: My Story



One of the most highly anticipated pre-launch auto sales took place Thursday night, September 16, 2010.

Fiat USA opened up the order books Thursday night and, in less than an hour, sold the remaining 470+ Fiat 500 Prima Edizione not sold during the Fiat Lancia Unlimited car club's national convention this past July.

Back in July, Fiat, in appreciation for all the years of support, gave members of the club the first opportunity to purchase the Fiat 500 Prima Edizione (First Edition) model. A total of five-hundred of these collector-edition Fiat 500 models, the first to roll of the assembly line, would be made.

The Prima Edizione featured a sequentially numbered vehicle identification number (VIN) and unique numbered matching badge. Also, owners would be able to select their model build number .



An undisclosed number were sold during the convention (estimated at two dozen) and the rest were held in reserve for a future offering that would be announced via the official fiatusa website and through email notification.

That announcement happened Thursday night, at 8:42 pm. By 9:23pm all were gone.

I thought I would share my experience of reserving one of the Prima Edizione with everyone...

A late night or early morning?

I normally stay up late working on this blog, checking sources, reading endless press reports and combing the internet for tidbits of information. At around 1:00am on Thursday morning, I stopped by ciaofiat.com, the official Fiat USA website, to see what was new. Clicking on the reserve a Prima Edizione button, to my surprise, it said there was 1 car available! Intrigued, I clicked on on the reserve now/generate a random number, car number 90 was picked. Not ready to purchase, I hit the back arrow and closed out the page.

In the morning I emailed a fellow Fiat enthusiast and told him what happened, He emailed me back that he couldn't get on the page and noticed it went to https, a secured web server, so something was up....

The right day

Screen shot taken at approx 8:50pm*



I happened to be off Thursday (unlike Tuesday, when the NA Fiat 500 Sport came out and I had 10 minutes to post a story before going to work), so while working on my blog, I kept checking into ciaofiat.com several times an hour, the site was still down for a good part of the day. By 6:30pm, the site was up, but I had to step out to a meeting; there were no cars available.

Screen shot taken approx 9:10pm


I came home from the meeting around 8:15 - 8:20pm, I refreshed the page and there were 450 cars available! I checked my email and there were no messages. Figuring this is it, it's now or never, I started to plug numbers into the site to see what was available. Excitement was building, as I entered numbers in, sequentially, with each one rejected, I wondered how many I would have to put in until I found an available car. Would I have to repeat this tedious process 20-30-50 or more times? Should I let the site generate a number for me or maybe pick a number that would have some significance to me? I was convinced that others, by now, were flocking to the site and that added to the whirlwind of thoughts going through my mind.

Screen shot taken approx 9:15pm


Then it all stopped... I got to number 29 and it was available! Filling out the forms, there was a timer counting down the minutes and seconds left to finish the process. I finished it within the 15 minutes alloted. It was 8:35pm

Screen shot taken approx 9:23pm


Now I wondered what happened, did I just stumble onto this before others knew? I checked my email again and saw my buddy had sent a message at 8:29 saying it looked like Prima' was open. We both wondered, separately, if it the cars were inadvertently posted as we didn't see an email.

Screen taken a moment later


I refreshed the ciaofiat site and...wow... the 450 cars were now 350! 100 cars sold in 10-15 minutes. This was big, and I knew I had to get this out to my readers! Frantically, I took a screen shot (it shows 329 cars) and posted this on my site and Twitter. This was at about 8:58pm, with a revised posting at 9:01pm.

I got the email!

Emails were sent to Fiat Lancia Unlimited members and then to folks who signed up on ciaofiat.com for updates. These emails were sent in batches due to email limitations; some people received them at slightly different times. I received mine at 8:42pm. With this, the cars started flying.

All gone...**


Thanks, Dad...

I was definitely lucky Thursday because I work a lot at night. Coming home after the meeting and checking ciaofiat was also pure luck. I like to think that my dad, who passed away July 21, had a hand in guiding me to this. Thanks, dad...




**There is a waiting list available, so you still may be able to get your Prima Edizione. Sign up at Fiat USA here!

*Times are approximate.

16 comments:

Terry said...

Condolences on your dad, Chris and congratulations on your nuovo prima edizione...Keep us posted on this and let us know what color u selected.

ciao for now,

Terry

F R Frey said...

Great write up. I too had the same experience. After trying to pick a number I did let Fiat give me one and #23 was mine. I've heard that FIAT held back numbers 1-10. Not sure how many exactly were sold at Fiat Freak Out.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else get this email today:

"Congratulations, your Cinquecento Prima Edizione has become available.To complete your reservation, please click on the following link within the next 24 hours. Confirm Your Prima Edizione. Please remember, your reservation can only be held for this 24-hour period. After that time, your Cinquecento will be offered to the next individual on the Prima Edizione wait list.We are excited to welcome you to our family.FIAT USA"

When I click on the link it takes me to different reservation number then I reserved. It then says the email is not valid as it has already been taken by another reservation. I called the phone number and they opened a help ticket. Anyone else have this problem? Vlad

Anonymous said...

Ok, so I lucked out and got 137.

I picked dark grey, but I could go white if it comes with a nice stripe like the Abarth.

Chris, do you have an photos of the Prima Edizione in Grey, Red and White? Of has the final version not yet been decided on (hoping for auto temp control...that panel looks hot.)

Went sunroof too.

Now we just need images and release dates...Yea.

Thanks again for the great site.

Gavin

Laura in New England said...

That's great Chris, so you've got yours?

I just got an email saying I can reserve one. I guess getting on the waiting list was a good idea.

Question is, how can I be sure that it will have all the options I want...

I need to go back and re-read the FAQ...

So excited, yet... wrangling hands...

--Laura

ciddyguy said...

Wow, what a neat story and I was touched by your mentioning your late father. It never fails me when someone mentions a thanks or something of their late parent(s) as I lost my father 12 years ago next month due to pancreatic cancer but still have my dear mother and see her often.

It is good to read that the 500 first editions sold out very quickly, a good sign I think.

I am anxiously awaiting when we get more info on the US version of the car, I'm liking where it's going so far.

Chris said...

Terry said...
"Condolences on your dad, Chris and congratulations on your nuovo prima edizione...Keep us posted on this and let us know what color u selected.

ciao for now,

Terry "

Thanks Terry,

I picked a grey one. This is like a big mystery and very exciting. I can't wait to get more info.

Best regards, Chris

Chris said...

F R Frey said...
"Great write up. I too had the same experience. After trying to pick a number I did let Fiat give me one and #23 was mine. I've heard that FIAT held back numbers 1-10. Not sure how many exactly were sold at Fiat Freak Out."

Thanks F R Frey,

Fiat saved 1-10 and #500 for, if I remember correctly, charities/museums. I can't remember who else.

Congrats on you #23, I must have skipped that one;) I was stressing and started losing track of what #'s I put in (I know I put some #'s in twice).

Best regards, Chris

Chris said...

Anonymous said...
"Did anyone else get this email today:

"Congratulations, your Cinquecento Prima Edizione has become available.To complete your reservation, please click on the following link within the next 24 hours. Confirm Your Prima Edizione. Please remember, your reservation can only be held for this 24-hour period. After that time, your Cinquecento will be offered to the next individual on the Prima Edizione wait list.We are excited to welcome you to our family.FIAT USA"

When I click on the link it takes me to different reservation number then I reserved. It then says the email is not valid as it has already been taken by another reservation. I called the phone number and they opened a help ticket. Anyone else have this problem? Vlad "

Hi Vlad,

I got the same thing. I think we're okay. I'll call tomorrow also,

best regards, Chris

Chris said...

Anonymous said...
"Ok, so I lucked out and got 137.

I picked dark grey, but I could go white if it comes with a nice stripe like the Abarth.

Chris, do you have an photos of the Prima Edizione in Grey, Red and White? Of has the final version not yet been decided on (hoping for auto temp control...that panel looks hot.)

Went sunroof too.

Now we just need images and release dates...Yea.

Thanks again for the great site.

Gavin"

Gavin, I am so glad you got in on this! When I read your post the other day that you missed it, I was bummed. Congratulations!

I took a grey one, also. No pics yet. It's pretty wild buying a car like this, very exciting and, probably, once in a lifetime experience. I'm trying to soak it all up.

Rest assured, when I get any info it will be up ASAP!

Best regards, Chris

Chris said...

Laura in New England said...
"That's great Chris, so you've got yours?

I just got an email saying I can reserve one. I guess getting on the waiting list was a good idea.

Question is, how can I be sure that it will have all the options I want...

I need to go back and re-read the FAQ...

So excited, yet... wrangling hands...

--Laura"

Laura, I'm glad you got one, that is awesome! The dealer will call you and go over your options/change stuff at that time.

Hang in there!

Best regards, Chris

Chris said...

ciddyguy said...
"Wow, what a neat story and I was touched by your mentioning your late father. It never fails me when someone mentions a thanks or something of their late parent(s) as I lost my father 12 years ago next month due to pancreatic cancer but still have my dear mother and see her often.

It is good to read that the 500 first editions sold out very quickly, a good sign I think.

I am anxiously awaiting when we get more info on the US version of the car, I'm liking where it's going so far."

Hi ciddyguy,

Sorry about your Dad... I'm also lucky to see my Mom often, she stayed overnight last night and we had a great time.

It is a great sign that the 500 has generated a lot of interest. It is well deserved and Fiat /Chrysler is working very hard (a lot of these folks are working 7 days a week for months) on this launch. Any success will be well earned.

Thanks again for following this blog and your kind thoughts.

Best regards, Chris

Jakeman said...

Hiya,

I added my name to the waitlist online Friday. Then, I got a call on Saturday that they were able to get me a slot. Cool! They let me pick my number. So, I throw out a few numbers (100, 222, etc.) and all are taken. I said, "well, rather than me guess, what decent numbers are left?" She says, 200. So I took that one. The email confirming the reservation came on Sunday.

My son likes silver, so we're going with that.

The only complication is that we already have a 2007 MINI Cooper S, so how to explain all this to the missus??

Spektor said...

Well I got mine reserved, in grey. I checked FIAT's UK site, but there are many shades of red, so it was hard to guess what the Prima in red would look like. There was a browser glitch so I couldn't get my original number but at least I could choose my second favorite. I called the phone number the next day but they were pretty unhelpful re the specs of the car. They couldn't even give a horsepower estimate, or much of anything re the included features or total price. I hope that as early adopters we may even get these below msrp. One big concern is is there any news what the warranty will be?

Anonymous said...

Got the e-mail last night, I was on the waiting list but some cancellations must have happened. Got my confirmation after spec'ing out a Gray w/ sunroof car. Now the fun begins, right?

Anonymous said...

i had the website die during the 15 minutes to fill out the reservation form.. Lost number 188, Called the service number and eventually got number 477.. Guess i dont care about the number so much, but that 15 minutes thing just shouldnt exist 24 hours is 24 hours and Computers fail.