The first new Fiat sold in the United States in 27 years was delivered at Criswell's Fiat of Gaithersburg Studio earlier today. The delivery officially marked the return of Fiat back to the US market.
The happy owners are Shaun and Nancy Folkerts, a well known couple in the Fiat enthusiasts' world. The Folkerts purchased their Fiat 500 Prima Edizione back in July 2010, during the Fiat Lancia Unlimited car club's national convention called the Fiat Freak Out. Their car, Prima Edizione number 11, is the first new Fiat offered for sale to the public since the car company left the US market in 1984.
Fiat Brand chief, Laura Soave, was there to hand the keys to the Folkerts and celebrate the return of Fiat to the US market. The event was kept semi-private and personal.
Here is some great news, now that the first Fiat 500 Prima Edizione is delivered, Fiat is releasing the remaining 488* Prima Edizione cars for delivery. It won't be long now!
For those who don't have a Prima Edizione waiting for them, dealers are receiving inventory daily. Criswell Fiat of Gaithersburg has them in stock, so check them out and their Studio.
Below is the official Fiat press release on the event:
Fiat North America has begun delivering the first Fiat 500 Prima Edizione models to customers throughout the United States this week.
These limited-edition 2012 Fiat 500 models were offered to Fiat enthusiasts in the U.S. as a reward for their years of steadfast loyalty to the Fiat brand. The 500 special-edition models represent the first Fiat vehicles to be sold in the U.S. since 1984.
“We are delighted to begin delivering the highly-anticipated Fiat Cinquecento Prima Edizione models to our cherished Fiat fans,” said Laura Soave, Head of Fiat Brand North America. “We value their unwavering loyalty and are thrilled that we now can show our appreciation by delivering the Prima Edizione models. The Prima Edizione marks the exciting and long-awaited return of the Fiat brand and true Italian automotive design to North America.”
The Prima Edizione (First Edition) model is meant for Fiat stalwarts like Shaun Folkerts, 38, who has a barn full of Fiat vehicles, dating back to 1958 and in various stages of restoration on his property in Douglassville, Pa. He has 90 Fiat vehicles in his collection, about a third of them housed in the barn, and the rest in a nearby warehouse.
Folkerts, a former environmental consultant and now stay-at-home dad, drove today from his home in southeastern Pennsylvania to take delivery of his Prima Edizione at Fiat of Gaithersburg, a Fiat Studio in Maryland in the metro Washington D.C. area.
“I’ve been waiting almost 28 years for this model to arrive, so I would drive anywhere, anytime for this Fiat 500,” an elated Folkerts said.
Folkerts’ first car as a teenager was a Fiat Spider “and I’ve never looked back.”
In July 2010, Fiat fans attending the Club Fiat-Lancia Unlimited annual convention in North Carolina were given the opportunity to place reservations and select their vehicle build number for the unique Prima Edizione model.
Folkerts took delivery today of Prima Edizione No. 11, produced in Toluca, Mexico. The model appeals to a broad spectrum of customers, like the father and son from Pennsylvania, each getting their own Prima Edizione model, and the husband and wife team of Italian descent in Philadelphia who will soon take delivery of a Rosso (Red) Prima Edizione and a Bianco (White) model. Even a 16-year-old high school sophomore soon will drive her Prima Edizione model home in suburban Detroit.
“The fact that these cars are reserved by a father and son, a husband and wife, and even a high school girl illustrates the strong appeal of this model to a broad array of customers who identify with Italian design, modern technology, fuel efficiency and overall value,” Soave said.
Soave was ecstatic as she handed the keys of the No. 11 Prima Edizione to Folkerts today at Fiat of Gaithersburg. It also was a special moment for dealer Harry Criswell.
“This is clearly one of the highlights of my automobile career,” Criswell says. “This is a perfect car for the perfect time. The American public is ready for this vehicle. I think this Fiat 500 will create an entirely new market segment of vehicles.”
The Fiat 500 Prima Edizione is exclusively available in three colors: Bianco, Rosso and Grigio (Gray). These limited-edition Fiat 500 models are equipped with a manual transmission. Designed as a collector vehicle, each Prima Edizione will feature a sequentially numbered vehicle identification number (VIN) and unique numbered matching badge on the instrument panel.
*Prima Edizione numbers 1 through 10 and number 500 were reserved for the company, leaving 489 cars offered to the public.