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Monday, January 31, 2011

The 2012 Fiat 500: Safety and Security

Fiat 500 in Rame

Owners of the new 2012 Fiat 500 will enjoy a level of safety and security that is unheard of in its segment. There are more than 35 of these features available in the 500, that amount in a car costing $10,000 more than the 500 would be unusual, but Fiat has included them, most without additional cost.

Below is the list of these features and please note this list only covers safety and security, it doesn't mention all the comfort, convenience and technology that is included in the Fiat 500. Review the list and you will see what they mean by "high-content small car".

Fiat NA Press Release:

“For the U.S. market, the new Fiat 500 will continue the brand’s pursuit and we fully expect we will be recognized as an industry leader with its innovative approach to vehicle safety.” — Laura Soave
New 2012 Fiat 500

Fiat 500 Chassis

State-of-the-art connectivity combined with heritage of top international safety ratings and more than 35 safety and security features keep passengers of the new 2012 Fiat 500 connected, comfortable and secure.

“At Fiat, safety has always been a priority, and this objective has enabled the Fiat 500 to be recognized by international safety organizations for achieving new levels of crashworthiness for an A-segment car,” said Laura Soave, Head of Fiat Brand North America. “For the U.S. market, the new Fiat 500 will continue the brand’s pursuit and we fully expect we will be recognized as an industry leader with its innovative approach to vehicle safety."

In Europe, the Fiat 500 was the first A-segment vehicle to achieve a 5-star Euro NCAP (New Car Assessment Program) adult occupant protection rating.

Seven standard air bags and reactive head restraintsThe new 2012 Fiat 500 features an all-new air bag system to offer unique protection for its passengers to meet all U.S. regulatory requirements. Its seven standard air bags include: driver and front-passenger advanced multi-stage air bags, driver’s knee air bag, full-length side-curtain air bags and standard seat-mounted side pelvic-thorax air bags, all to offer enhanced occupant protection to all occupants in the event of a collision.

Reactive head restraints, which activate during a rear impact, are another innovation helping minimize injuries by reducing the gap between the head restraint and the passenger’s head.

Fiat 500 Airbags

Innovative TomTom® Navigation with BLUE&ME™ Handsfree Communication technologyDeveloped as a collaboration between Fiat and Microsoft, BLUE&ME™ Handsfree Communication technology is an in-vehicle, voice-activated communication system that allows the driver to operate a Bluetooth®-compatible phone while keeping his or her hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. Using a series of voice commands, the driver can place phone calls, access the phone’s address book or listen to MP3s. BLUE&ME Handsfree Communication technology supports most mobile phones with Bluetooth technology.

With the available TomTom® Navigation with BLUE&ME Handsfree Communication technology, the system integrates an innovative 4.3-inch TomTom hand-held navigation unit that docks on top of the new 2012 Fiat 500’s instrument panel. With its large touchscreen display, simple map displays with available real-time traffic, weather and more than 7 million points of interests, TomTom navigation with BLUE&ME Handsfree Communication technology is intuitive for the driver to use. And with its direct integration into the Fiat 500’s interior system, the driver is able to use steering-wheel-mounted controls to make operation even easier.

Thanks to its portable design, the TomTom Navigation system allows passengers of the Fiat 500 to remove the hand-held device from the vehicle and use it as a guide for walking tours or finding their way back to the vehicle.

Fiat 500 Rame Driving

Upgraded Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
The new Fiat 500 features standard electronic stability control (ESC) for improved braking performance in wet or panic conditions.

Behind the scenes, the ESC system is ready to intervene by integrating key chassis control systems including electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), anti-lock brake system (ABS) and traction control systems (TCS) to control all four wheels in response to yaw and steering input.

In effect, ESC determines the driver’s intentions and adjusts the vehicle’s dynamic forces to maintain the driver’s intended course. Should the driver exceed the performance limits of the road surface – such that the vehicle starts to oversteer or understeer – ESC instantly analyzes input from the wheel sensors and corrects the pending loss of control by applying any one, several or all of the system’s brakes.

More than 35 available safety and security featuresThe following is a list of the new 2012 Fiat 500’s more than 35 available safety and security features which include:
• Active turn signals: Turn signal flashes three times when stalk is depressed for 1 second to indicate a lane change (standard)
• Advanced multi-stage air bags: Inflates with a force appropriate to the severity of the impact. In addition, Fiat 500’s unique driver’s air bag design includes tethers to shape the air bag. The passenger airbag has a unique air bag venting system, allowing one vent of the air bag to remain open while the air bag is fully inflating. A secondary vent is actuated as the passenger contacts the air bag at the end of a crash event, offering protection of passengers of all sizes
• All-speed control traction: Helps to keep driving wheels from spinning during acceleration from a stop or during all speeds by applying individual brakes alone or in combination with engine torque limitation to prevent wheel slip
• Anti-lock brake system (ABS): Senses and prevents wheel lockup, offering improved steering control under extreme braking and/or slippery conditions (standard)
• Auto-dimming rearview mirror: Detects and reduces glare from rearward headlamps without driver intervention
• BeltAlert: Activates a chime and/or illuminates an icon in the instrument cluster to remind the driver and front passenger to buckle up if the Fiat 500 is driven without belted front-seat occupants (standard)
• Bi-halogen projector headlamps: Provides wider, more focused light spread and improves forward visibility at night (standard)
• BLUE&ME™ Handsfree Communication technology: Provides an in-vehicle, voice-activated communication system that allows the driver to operate a Bluetooth compatible phone while keeping his or her hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. Using a series of voice commands, the driver can place phone calls, access the phone’s address book or listen to MP3s
• Brake Assist: In an emergency brake situation, the system applies maximum braking power, minimizing the stopping distance (standard)
• Brake Override: When a disagreement exists between the throttle and the brake, the brake signal causes the engine controller to reduce engine power, allowing the operator to stop the Fiat 500 (standard)
• Brake/Park Interlock: Prevents a Fiat 500 with six-speed automatic transmission from being shifted out of Park unless the brake pedal is applied (standard)
• Brake-traction control system (BTCS): Helps to keep driving wheels from spinning during acceleration from a stop or during slow speeds by applying individual brakes to the slipping wheel(s) (standard)
• Child seat anchor system: LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) is designed to ease installation of compatible aftermarket child seats (standard)
• Constant-force Retractors (CFR): Regulates the force exerted on the occupant by the seat belt and then gradually releases seat-belt webbing in a controlled manner. The system features a digressive load limiter for the driver and adaptive load limiter for the front-passenger (standard)

• Crumple zones: Designed to deform during an accident in order to absorb energy from an impact which decreases transfer of that energy to occupants (standard)
• Daytime running lamps (DRL): Provides additional forward illumination for improved vehicle awareness
• Electronic stability control (ESC): Enhances driver control and helps maintain directional stability under all conditions. Provides the benefit in critical driving situations, such as turns, and is valuable when driving on mixed-surface conditions, including snow, ice or gravel. If there is a discernible difference between driver input through the steering wheel and the Fiat 500’s path, ESC applies selective braking and throttle input to guide the vehicle back on to the driver’s intended path (standard)

• Energy management system: Three front load paths designed from high-strength steel manage vehicle crush and minimize cabin intrusion (standard)
• Express down windows: One-touch powered express down window button located on the center console (standard)
• Full-length side-curtain air bags: Extends protection to all outboard front- and rear-seat passengers. Each side air bag has its own impact sensors that autonomously trigger the air bag on the side where an impact occurs. This type of air bag is housed in the headliner just above the side windows (standard)
• Head restraints: Includes all seating positions (standard)
• Hill-start Assist (HSA): Assists drivers when starting a vehicle from a stop on a hill by maintaining the level of brake pressure applied for a short period of time after a driver’s foot is removed from the brake pedal If throttle is not applied within a short period of time after the driver’s foot is removed from the brake pedal, brake pressure will be released (standard)
• Intelligent battery sensor (IBS): Continually measures the flow of current into and out of the battery. If the battery is running low, the system intelligently shuts off less critical electrical systems to help prevent a customer being stranded due to a low or depleted battery. When IBS conducts load shedding, an icon appears in the cluster display (standard)
• Knee air bag (driver’s side): Located below the instrument panel, air bag deploys when the driver’s air bag deploys and is designed to properly position the occupant during impact and offer additional lower leg protection
• Occupant restraint controller (ORC): Detects an impact and determines whether a crash is severe enough to trigger air bag deployment and whether the primary or secondary stage inflation is sufficient. In addition the controller detects side impacts and determines whether the rail-curtain and side seat-mounted (pelvic-thorax protection) airbags should deploy. Engagement of front seat belt pretensioners are also managed through the controller (standard)
• ParkSense® rear park assist system: Assists at low speeds in reverse to detect stationary objects. Consists of audible warnings for the driver and has a display in the instrument cluster’s Electronic Vehicle Information Center (EVIC)
• Reactive head restraints: Activates in the event of a rear collision. Restraints are designed to reduce injuries by minimizing the gap between the driver and front-passenger head restraint and the passenger’s head (standard)
• Remote keyless entry: Locks and unlocks doors and turns on interior lamps. If the vehicle is equipped with the optional security alarm, the remote also arms and disarms that system (standard)
• Safety cage body structure: Protects occupants by managing and controlling energy in the event of an impact (standard)
• Seat belt pretensioners: During a collision, impact sensors initiate front seat belt pretensioners to remove slack in the seat belt system, thereby reducing the forward movement of the occupant’s head and torso (standard)
• Sentry Key® engine immobilizer: Uses a key fob that has an embedded transponder with a preprogrammed security code to shut off the engine after a few seconds and discourage vehicle theft (standard)
• Seat-mounted side pelvic-thorax air bags: Provide enhanced protection to the driver and front outboard passenger in certain impacts. Each side air bag has its own impact sensors that autonomously trigger the air bag on the side where an impact occurs. Standard side air bags are housed within the outboard side of each front seat (standard)
• Side-curtain air bags: Provide enhanced protection to all outboard occupants (standard)
• Side guard door beams: Provide occupant protection during a side impact (standard)
• Three-point seat belts: Front seating positions and all rear seating positions have lap and shoulder belts (standard)
• Tilt steering column: Allows steering column to achieve a safe and comfortable driving position (standard)
• Tire-pressure monitoring (TPM): Informs driver when tire pressure is too low. Pressure-sensor modules within the valve stems of all four road wheels send continuous radio-frequency signals to a receiver and the system. Individual tire pressure can be displayed in the EVIC (standard)
• TomTom® Navigation with BLUE&ME™ Handsfree Communication technology: This innovative navigation system adds a 4.3-inch touchscreen TomTom hand-held navigation unit to the standard BLUE&ME Handsfree communication system. The system features an instrument panel docking system for added driver convenience, real-time traffic, real-time weather updates and more than 7 million points of interests
• Vehicle theft security alarm: Deters vandalism and theft, frequently lowering insurance premiums. System protects the vehicle from theft by monitoring door-ajar switches and the ignition circuit for unauthorized entry


Press Release courtesy of Chrysler Media

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Fiat 500 Complete Vehicle Specifications

Fiat 500 in Giallo

New 2012 Fiat 500 SPECIFICATIONS
Dimensions are in inches (millimeters) unless otherwise noted.

General Information
Body Style A-segment hatchback
Assembly Plant Toluca, Mexico
EPA Vehicle Class Subcompact
Introduction Date January 2011 as a 2012 model

Availability Standard — Fiat 500 Pop, Sport and Lounge
Type and Description Inline four-cylinder, liquid-cooled
Displacement 83.48 cu. in. (1368 cu. cm)
Bore x Stroke 2.83 x 3.31 in. (72.0 x 84.0 mm)
Valve System Belt-driven, MultiAir®, 16 valves, hydraulic end-pivot roller rockers
Fuel Injection Sequential, multi-port, electronic, returnless
Construction Cast iron block with aluminum-alloy heads and aluminum-alloy bedplate
Compression Ratio 10.8:1
Power (SAE net) 101 bhp (75 kW) @ 6,500 rpm (73.8 bhp/L)
Torque (SAE net) 98 lb.-ft. (133 N•m) @ 4,000 rpm
Max. Engine Speed 6,900 rpm (electronically limited)
Fuel Requirement 87 octane (R+M)/2 acceptable
91 octane recommended
Oil Capacity 4.0 qt. (3.8L) with dry filter
Coolant Capacity 4.6 qt. (14.4L)
Emission Controls Dual three-way catalytic converters, heated oxygen sensors
and internal engine features(a)
Max. Gross Trailer Weight Not rated for trailer tow
Estimated EPA Fuel Economy 30/38 mpg (City/Hwy) (5-speed manual)
27/34 mpg (City/Hwy) (6-speed automatic)
Engine Assembly Plant GEMA Engine Plant, Dundee, Mich.

(a) Meets Federal Tier 2 Bin 5 emission requirements and ULEV II requirements in California, Massachusetts, New York, Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington.

Availability Standard on 500 Lounge
Optional on 500 Pop and 500 Sport models

Description Auto Stick driver-interactive manual control and electronically modulated torque converter clutch
Gear Ratios
1st 4.044
2nd 2.371
3rd 1.556
4th 1.159
5th 0.852
6th 0.672
Reverse 3.193
Final Drive Ratio 4.103
Overall Top Gear 6.01

Availability Standard on 500 Pop and 500 Sport
Description 1st, 2nd gear: Double Cone
3rd, 4th, 5th, gear: Single Cone
Gear Ratios
1st 3.909
2nd 2.158
3rd 1.345
4th 0.974
5th 0.766
Reverse 3.818
Final-drive Ratio 3.733

Alternator 105-amp — Standard all
Battery 500 CCA, maintenance free

Wheelbase 90.6 (2,300)
Track, Front 55.4 (1,406.8)
Track, Rear 55.0 (1,397.0)
Overall Length 139.6 (3,546.7)
Overall Width 64.1 (1,627.0)
Overall Height 59.8 (1,519.6)
Ground Clearance 4.1 (104.0)
Drag Coefficient (Cd) 0.35
Curb Weight, lb. (kg) 2,363 (1,074.0) — 5-MTX
2,434 (1,106.4) — 6-ATX
Weight Distribution, percent F/R 64/36 — 5-MTX
66/34 — 6-ATX
Fuel Tank Capacity, gal. (L) 10.5 (40)
(d) All dimensions measured at curb weight with standard tires.

Seating Capacity, F/R 2/2
Front Seat
Head room 38.9 (989.1)
37.6 (956.3) with sunroof
Legroom 40.7 (1,034.8)
Shoulder room 49.4 (1,254.8)
Hip room 47.9 (1,215.4)
Total seat travel Driver — 8.2 (210.0)
Passenger — 8.2 (210.0)
EPA front row interior volume, cu. ft. (cu. m) 43.8 (1.239)
Rear Seat
Head room 35.6 (902.9)
Legroom 31.7 (805.1)
Knee clearance 3.8 (96.5)
Shoulder room 46.4 (1,177.5)
Hip room 1083.1 (42.6)
EPA second row interior volume, cu. ft. (cu. m) 30.2 (0.854)
Total Interior Volume, cu. ft. (cu. m) 85.1 (2.409)
EPA Luggage Compartment Volume, cu. ft. (cu. m) 9.5 (0.269)
EPA Interior Volume Index, cu. ft. (cu. m) 75.6 (2.140)
Trunk Liftover Height 27.7 (703.6)

Layout Transverse-mounted front engine, front-wheel drive
Construction Unitized steel body

Front - MacPherson suspension, coil spring with twin-tube shock absorbers and stabilizer bar — included with 500 Pop and 500 Lounge
Sport-tuned shock absorbers and springs — included with 500 Sport
Rear - Rear twist-beam axle with coil springs and twin-tube shock absorbers — included with 500 Pop and 500 Lounge
Sport-tuned shock absorbers and springs — included with 500 Sport

Type Power rack and pinion with electric power steering (EPS) column
Overall Ratio 16.3:1
Turning Diameter (curb-to-curb) 30.6 ft. (9.32 m)
Steering Turns (lock-to-lock) 3.0

Availability Standard on 500 Pop and 500 Lounge
Size and type 185/55R15 BSW all-season
Mfr. and model Continental ContiProContact or Firestone Firehawk GTH or Pirelli Cinturato P7 A/S
Revs per mile (km) 906 (563)

Availability Standard on 500 Sport
Size and type 195/45R16XL BSW all-season
Mfr. and model Pirelli Cinturato P7 A/S or Continental ContiProContact
Revs per mile (km) 901 (560) or 911 (566)

Availability Standard on 500 Pop
Type and material Steel wheels with tech silver painted wheel covers
Size 15 x 6.0

Availability Optional on 500 Pop
Type and material Cast-aluminum, five oval spoke design, fully painted tech silver
Size 15 x 6.0

Availability Standard on 500 Lounge
Type and material Cast-aluminum, nine split-spoke design, fully painted tech silver
Size 15 x 6.0

Availability Optional on 500 Lounge
Type and material Cast-aluminum premium finish, radial design, fully painted premium silver
Size 15 x 6.0

Availability Standard on 500 Sport
Type and material Cast-aluminum, polished face with dark mineral gray painted pockets
Size 16 x 6.5

Rotor size and type 10.1 x 0.86 (257 x 22) vented
Caliper size and type 2.12 (54) single-piston with aluminum housing
Swept area 193 sq. in. (1,244 sq. cm)
Rotor size and type 9.4 x 0.4 (240 x 11) solid
Caliper size and type 1.33 (34) single-piston with aluminum housing
Swept area 153 sq. in. (984 sq. cm)

With thanks to Chrysler Media

Friday, January 28, 2011

New Fiat 500 Fuel Economy Best in Class

The US Fiat 500 has already started receiving accolades even before the car goes on sale to the public. This time it is for achieving best in class fuel economy.

Fiat North America has released EPA fuel economy specs for the 2012 Fiat 500, and it shows for the manual transmission car, 30mpg city and 38mpg highway with a combined rating of 33mpg. This is best in class performance. The Fiat 500 with an automatic transmission earned a rating of 27mpg city and 34mpg highway with a combined 30mpg. Again, a best in class performance.

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to talk with Chrysler engineers who, working together with their Fiat SpA counterparts, achieved this performance. A fascinating point made was the US car achieves better gas mileage than if they used the complete European drivetrain.

These official fuel economy figures are better than the preliminary figures published earlier in documents provided by anonymous sources. The best in class achievements will erase any doubts to the efficiency of the 1.4L MultiAir engine.

But the Fiat 500 is more than just great fuel economy. While visiting these talented engineers, I was given the opportunity to drive the new 500 over a long, windy, hilly course laid out by Fiat North America in beautiful San Diego. Let me tell you, this car puts the power down; MultiAir spins out plenty of torque when and where you need it. I was able to charge this course mostly in one gear; the low-end torque pulling me out of the slow turns and then just letting the engine sing through the higher speed sweepers. Very Italian, the engine has a lot of personality. I'll have more on my road test in a later post.

Don't miss it!

With thanks to Chrysler Media

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fiat 500 Prima Edizione UPDATE: Seats

The following was a message sent to Fiat 500 Prima Edizione owners Monday night. It is from Laura Soave, Fiat North America Head, sharing an update on the Prima Edizione cars:

I just wanted to take a quick moment to say hello and share some exciting news with you from our FIAT production facility.

As you know, your car just recently went into production. I totally understand your excitement and appreciate your patience as the days go by. Trust me, there is no one more excited than me to see you take delivery of your vehicle!

I thought now would be a good time to add to your anticipation. Here is a quick peak at your seats that are ready to be installed. I thought you would love to see them.

Stay tuned - we will be sharing more information and photos over the coming weeks.

Thank you again for your continued support, enthusiasm and passion for the FIAT Brand.


Laura Soave
Head of FIAT North America

This is great news, now we're rolling! Thanks for the update Laura!!

Visit the Fiat500USA Blog's 500 Prima Edizione Gallery

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Key Elements of the 2012 Fiat 500

There is simply no other car in its segment that offers as much in terms of features, engineering and design as the Fiat 500. With details and character worthy of a car costing 2 or 3 times that of the 500, this is not the typical econobox American have traditionally been offered.

The list below provides a quick reference guide to all the key features of the Fiat 500:

Segment Exclusives/Recognition
*Fiat 500 MultiAir technology was recognized as the “single most innovative engine technology” of the year by the International Engine of the Year Awards panel
*2009 World Car Design of the Year
*European Car of the Year 2008
*One of the most awarded cars — with 60 major awards
*The 500,000th Fiat 500 was produced in March 2010


Seven standard air bags
°including knee bag)
°driver/front passenger
°knee air bag
°side curtain
°seat mounted
Standard four-wheel disc ABS
Standard Electronic Stability Control
Standard All-Speed Traction Control
Standard Active Head Restraints
Standard Tire Pressure Monitoring System (warning lamp)
Standard Fix & Go quick tire repair kit

Standard Electronic Brake Assist (Hydraulic Brake Assistance)
°equalizes brake pressure so optimum force over optimum time is applied
Standard Hill Start Assist
Standard Remote Keyless Entry
Standard Sentry Key
Available alarm system (Standard on Lounge)
Standard heated exterior mirrors
Standard "Follow Me Home" function (headlamp off delay)
Available fog lights
Standard variable speed-sensitive wipers
Available ParkSense® Rear Park Assist
Daytime running lamps



Ergonomically designed
Standard digital IP display with integrated EVIC
Available electrochromic rearview mirror
Available leather-wrapped steering wheel w/controls incl. w/Convenience Pkg., (Standard on Lounge and Sport)
Standard cruise/speed control
Standard tilt steering column
Available heated front seats (cloth or leather trimmed) (Sport, Lounge) (Must have 6-speed automatic) (Also included in Luxury Package)
Seats designed for comfort
Standard manual height adjuster for driver seat
Standard 50/50 split fold-down rear seatbacks with adjustable headrests
Standard driver seat easy-entry (for rear seat) with memory (mechanical)
Available automatic temperature control monitors that display inside and outside temperature
as well as surface temperature
Available auto dimming rearview mirror
Standard air conditioning
Standard 12v power outlet in center console

Standard storage
°Center console with cargo nets
°Glove box with cargo net
°Passenger under-seat storage
°Five cupholders (3 front/2 rear)
°Front door pockets
°Front seatback pockets
Cargo Area
°9.5 cu ft with rear seat up
°17.5 cu ft with rear seats folded
Option Group
°Luxury Package — Leather seats, electrochromic rear view mirror, heated front seats (Lounge)



Connectivity and Infotainment Options and Equipment
°AM/FM/CD/MP3 player
°Auxiliary audio input jack
°Sound Systems
Standard sound system
°6 speakers
Bose Premium Audio Package
°7 speakers
°Digital amplifier
°7-channel equalizer
°Available Sirius® Satellite Radio
°Blue & Me Systems
°Blue & Me Handsfree Connect
°Bluetooth® phone connectivity
°USB port for memory stick music, iPod® connectivity; voice command for "next," "previous" and "play"
°Control with radio, steering wheel controls, or voice
°Contacts are viewable in a display on the IP
°Voice activated calling
°Tom Tom™ Navigation with Blue & Me Handsfree Connect
°Includes all Blue & Me Handsfree Connect features
Available steering wheel controls for
°Sound system
°Navigation System
Option Group
°Convenience Package — Includes Blue & Me Handsfree Connect package plus Leather Steering Wheel with Controls (must have cruise control)
Standard Warranties*
°4-year/50,000 miles Bumper to Bumper
°4-year/50,000 miles Powertrain
°4-year/36,000 miles Maintenance
°4-year/unlimited miles Roadside Assitance

* revised 1/20/11


1.4L MultiAir Engine
°Variable Valve Timing
°101 hp, 28 city/37 highway mpg Preliminary estimate- Actual TBA ;)Transmissions
°5-speed manual
°Aisin 6-speed with AutoStick
6-speed automatic
Eco:Drive Fuel Economy Management
°Downloadable computer application designed to help you improve how efficiently you drive
°Analyzes driving style and provides tips on using less fuel, saving money, and reducing CO2 emissions
°Plug in a USB device to record driving style. Can listen to music, make a call, etc., from same usb drive
Push button Eco – Sport Mode
°Throttle, shift points and steering adjustments are more responsive
°Normal duty
°Sport-tuned (Sport)
10.5-gallon fuel tank



°Fixed Glass Roof (Lounge)
°"Sky Dome" Power Sunroof (option)
°Body-color front and rear fascias (Pop, Sport)
°Body-color w/chrome front and rear fascias (Lounge)
°Body-color body-side molding w/integrated 500 badge (Lounge)
°Chrome belt molding (Lounge)
°Black belt molding (Pop, Sport)
°Standard chrome door handles
°Body Kit (Sport)
°Body-color rear spoiler (Sport)
°Bright stainless exhaust tip (Sport, Lounge)
°FIAT badging, front fascia and liftgate
°15-inch steel wheels with wheel covers (Pop)
°15-inch aluminum wheels (2 styles) (one Pop, one Lounge)
°15-inch aluminum wheels, polished with black pockets (Sport)
°15-inch aluminum wheels with premium finish (Lounge)
°16-inch aluminum wheels (Sport)
°500,000 customization combinations

2012 Fiat 500 Colors

°Two-tone design (option)

Sources: List taken from Chrysler LLC, Chrysler Media

Vendor Report: Midwest-Bayless racing news

Matt Brannon, owner of Midwest-Bayless and Fiat racer, sent us an update on his racing progress this season. Matt is one of the great Fiat racers in this country and his company, Midwest-Bayless, restores, modifies and can supply just about any part for a classic Fiat/Lancia automobile.

Matt was one of the first persons to step up and put a deposit on a Prima Edizione during the Fiat Freak Out last July and can not wait to get to work on his car. One thing I would love to see is the 500 being raced in the US, especially in the hands of a Fiat enthusiast like Matt.

Below is the Midwest-Bayless press release:

January 18, 2011

For Immediate Release:

Midwest-Bayless Italian Auto launched the 2011 SCCA National Club Racing season with highly successful outings at Sebring International Raceway and Homestead Miami Speedway, completing four sanctioned SCCA National races in 10 days between January 7 and Jan 16, achieving four podium finishes with a Fiat in the H-Production class.

Matt and his Fiat X1/9 were solidly in contention at each of the venues, finishing 2nd and 3rd at the two Sebring races, with 2nd and 1st place finishes at the two Homestead races.

“The 2011 SCCA Palm Tree Quad Nationals at Sebring and Homestead were great experiences, and we’re thrilled to have as much success with our Fiat so early in the season. We fought some minor but repetitive mechanical issues throughout the two weekends, however the team and crew persevered and we have great finishes to show for our efforts. This gives us a big jump on our H-Production competitors for the season” said Matt Brannon, owner/driver of the #22 Midwest-Bayless Fiat X1/9.

Midwest-Bayless is now looking forward to “regular season” SCCA races closer to home, with several more scheduled appearances including Grattan Raceway near Grand Rapids Michigan, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Central Ohio, and Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

Midwest-Bayless Italian Auto (, based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of North America’s premier sources of replacement parts, service, restoration and race prep services for “classic” Fiat and Lancia vehicles. The Midwest-Bayless classic Fiat racing program has four top-5 finishes in their last 5 appearances at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs, including two podium finishes of 3rd in 2006 and 2nd in 2008.

Fans can follow the
Midwest-Bayless racing season progress with live updates from each track, photos and video footage on Facebook.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Canadian Fiat 500 unveiled

The much anticipated Canadian edition of the Fiat 500 was unveiled at the Montreal International Auto Show. The show, which runs from January 14-23, featured two Lounge models and gave Canadians their first views of the updated North American 500.

The Fiat 500 is sure to be hit in Canada, where a high value is placed on efficient, well engineered vehicles. Want proof? Last October, the first Canadian 500 Prima Edizione was auctioned off for $85,000 at a charity event. Then in November, the remaining 499 Prima Ediziones were offered for online sale and were all sold out within 12 hours.

Check out the Fiat Canada website for a list of dealers and show events. Fiat Canada website

Photos courtesy of Chrysler Media

Fiat at Detroit: The accessories...

Customization and personalization, these are hallmarks of Fiat 500 ownership. Even after you order your 500, you can still add accessories at your local Fiat Studio. Leather seats, heated seats, shifter, ambient lighting, graphics packages, etc., can be added whenever you choose. In this brief video, check out just some of the accessories that will be offered.

Courtesy of Chrysler Media

Monday, January 17, 2011

Fiat 500: Imagine

What the streets in America will look like in a few short months. Enjoy!

Video courtesy of Chrysler Media

Fiat at Detroit: Laura Soave interviewed

If there are any doubts about the appeal of the Fiat 500, a dealer has already taken 80 orders for the car, without even having a car to show. Laura Soave, Head of Fiat North America, was recently interviewed at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show and talks about where the Fiat 500 fits into the American driving dynamic and what makes the 500 so attractive.

The 2012 Fiat 500 will be on display at the Detroit Auto Show, January 15- 23. Don't miss it!

Source: Chrysler Media

Friday, January 14, 2011

Six-footers in the back of a Fiat 500

Our passenger is just about 6'2". Please note, the front seat is pushed pretty far forward in this shot.

People up to 6'6" tall (Jeremy Clarkson) have been comfortable in the front seat of the Fiat 500. Now here are a couple of shots of 6 foot tall passengers sitting in the back seat of one. It can be done! The European Fiat 500 was designed to accommodate at the same time, a 6'1" driver and a 5'9" passenger. Most peoples first impressions of the interior of the Fiat 500 are; how roomy (and nice) the interior is.

Another 6 foot tall individual. The front seat is farther back and at a more natural position than the picture above. If the driver and passenger are willing to share some of their ample space, a surprising amount of rear seat room can be had.

Here is a video of someone who is 6'3" sitting in the back seat of a Fiat 500. He is having some fun for the camera, but also seems genuinely surprised with the amount of room inside the car!

To learn more, check out these two stories on the interior design of the Fiat 500: "The Fiat 500 interior accommodations" and this one: "Inside the Fiat 500" (be sure to watch the video).

With thanks to Chrysler Media
Knees provided by Jason ;) Thanks!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

First view of the 2012 Fiat 500 Prima Edizione interior

Here is the first published illustration of the Fiat 500 Prima Edizione's interior. Note the red accent stitching on the seats, steering wheel and shift boot. Some of the features specific to the Prima Edizione include:

Unique 16" Aluminum Wheels with Black pockets
Gloss Black Painted Roof and Mirrors
Prima Edizione badge
Black Body Stripe
Graphite instrument panel bezel
Red accent stitching
Numbered badge on the instrument panel
Floor mats with logo

The latest news is the Prima Edizione will be available sometime in February. Fiat will be sending out another email update shortly, so keep an eye out for it.

For larger images, click here to go to my Prima Edizione gallery.

Illustration from an anonymous source

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sergio Marchionne at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show

Sergio Marchionne took some questions and answers from the media at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show on Monday, January 10. In the video below, he takes a question on the Fiat 500, talks about Abarth and explains Fiat's plans for the US:

This was part two of a three part video. Go to my Youtube Channel to see the other parts: Fiat500USA video channel

With thanks to Chrysler Media

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Fiat 500 Makes Official Debut at 2011 Detroit Auto Show

The Fiat 500 makes its official debut at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show this week. The public show runs January 15 thru the 23 and will feature seven 2012 Fiat 500s. If you are in the area, now is your chance to see the 500 in person. Don't miss it!

Below are highlights from the Fiat Press release:

It’s Showtime: Fiat North America Brings Italian Flavor To Its First North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) With New 2012 Fiat 500 Models

* New 2012 Fiat 500 models at the 24th NAIAS display contemporary styling, beautiful craftsmanship and city-friendly proportions combined with intelligent adaptions for American roads
* New 1.4-liter engine with state-of-the-art MultiAir® technology, invented and patented by Fiat Group, delivers power, fuel efficiency and refinement
* Three models, 14 exterior colors and 14 unique seat color and material combinations will allow customers to configure ‘their own’ Fiat 500 at
* Starting U.S. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $15,500

January 10, 2011 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - Fiat North America made its first official debut at the 2011 North American International Auto Show today with a colorful display of seven 2012 Fiat 500 (Cinquecento) models and one historic model. With beautiful Italian styling, timeless functionality, efficient design and innovative technology – the same attributes that made the original version a timeless icon – the new Fiat 500 is relevant for an entirely new generation of drivers.

“Detroit is our home base in America,” said Laura Soave, Head of Fiat Brand North America. “With our new 2012 Fiat 500 models marking our first North American International Auto Show appearance, we couldn’t have asked for a better way to launch the brand and start the New Year. Loaded with Italian style, the new 2012 Fiat 500 provides our customers with the perfect blend of emotional design, rational appeal, high level of standard features and personalization options for our customers’ individuality to be recognized wherever they go.”

Check out more photos of the show at Fiat USA's Facebook page

Chrysler Media Press Release

Fiat increasing ownership stake in Chrysler

Chrysler LLC has announced that Fiat's ownership interest has increased to 25%, up from the initial 20% stake given to Fiat at the beginning of the merger.

This increase was the result of Fiat reaching a significant milestone set out in the merger agreement of building the FIRE (Fully Integrated Robotized Engine) family of engines in the United States. FIRE production began in November and is the engine that equips the new Fiat 500. You can read more about this in a story I did last October (click here).

Fiat can up their ownership level an additional 10%, done in two separate 5% increments by next; distributing Chrysler vehicles outside of NAFTA and producing a Chrysler vehicle in the US based on Fiat technology capable of achieving 40mpg.

Here is an excerpt of the official Fiat/Chrysler agreement:

"...Fiat will have right to receive up to an additional 15% equity interest (by vote and value) on a fully diluted basis. This stake can be obtained in three tranches of 5% each subject to the achievement of predetermined targets, in particular, achievement of regulatory approvals to produce the FIRE family of engines in the USA; achievement of sales of Chrysler vehicles outside NAFTA, and achievement of regulatory approval to produce a Chrysler model based on Fiat technology. Upon obtainment of such additional 15% interest, Fiat will also have the right to appoint another director of Chrysler..."

Fiat also has the option of becoming the majority stake holder (51%), but only after all the government loans are repaid. Current plans call for that to happen by 2014. However, Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne wants Chrysler to go public sometime next year, so Fiat might repay the government loans early and grab the 51% before the IPO happens. This would save Fiat a considerable amount of money.

We'll have to see how that plays out. In the meantime, read the official Chrysler press release sent out yesterday:

Chrysler Group LLC Meets First of Three Performance Events; Fiat Increases Ownership to 25 Percent

January 10, 2011, Auburn Hills, Mich. - Chrysler Group today announced that Fiat's ownership interest in the Company has increased from 20 percent to 25 percent upon the Company’s achievement of the first of three performance-related milestones.

As outlined in its June 10, 2009 Operating Agreement, Chrysler Group issued an irrevocable commitment letter to the U.S. Treasury stating that the Company has received the appropriate governmental approvals and will begin commercial production of the Fully Integrated Robotized Engine (FIRE) in its Dundee, Mich., facility. As a result, Fiat’s ownership interest increased automatically under the terms of the Operating Agreement.

The ownership interests of Chrysler Group’s members are now:
UAW VEBA 63.5 percent
Fiat 25.0 percent
U.S. Treasury 9.2 percent
Canadian Governments 2.3 percent

The first North American application of the 1.4-liter FIRE engine with MultiAir Technology will be in the new Fiat 500, which Chrysler Group will begin to distribute soon through newly appointed dealers.

Fiat has the opportunity to further increase its ownership in Chrysler to 35 percent, in 5 percent increments, through two additional performance-related milestones. The first milestone relates to revenue and sales growth outside of the NAFTA region. The second milestone relates to commercial production in the United States of a 40-mile-per-gallon vehicle based on Fiat platform technology.

Chrysler Media

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Customized Fiat 500 on Display at Detroit Auto Show

This MOPAR creation will be prominently displayed alongside the other Fiat 500s at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show

A customized Fiat 500 is going to be featured at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show, January 10-23. Chrysler's MOPAR parts and accessories division will display over 100 accessories spread over 57 show vehicles. Among these is this heavily accessorized Fiat 500.

MOPAR is legendary for providing exciting performance parts and accessories to automobile enthusiasts. Now MOPAR brings their unique vision to the Fiat 500, displaying a car that highlights just some of what Fiat owners are able to choose from to personalize and tailor their own Fiat 500 experience.

Following is a list of MOPAR accessories that will be featured on the 2012 Fiat 500:

Door-sill guards with 500 logo
Roof/hood decals feature a double-blue stripe
Katzkin leather interior, black with blue accents
Carbon fiber-style hand brake
Carbon fiber-style shift knob with leather boot

Rear window-mount rack
Snowboard carrier
Wheels, black gloss
Chromed exhaust tip

Chromed mirror covers
Chromed fuel door
Chromed grille surround, front and back

Wheel center caps
Key fob cover
Strut tower brace

Fiat says: "A full line of authentic Fiat 500 accessories by MOPAR will offer customers even more personalization possibilities at their local Fiat dealership, including unique striping packages, exterior and interior styling accessories and authentic Fiat-styled merchandise."

View the full size images here!

Images and quote courtesy of Chrysler Media