Search This Site

Friday, August 31, 2012

Fiat 500 Summer Finale Sale!

Fiat Picnic

The Fiat 500... The car for the people, by the people. Whether rich and famous or just starting out, it is a car for those who recognize outstanding design and want something more than just the ordinary. Maybe you've wanted one for a while, but the timing has been off, well now is the time!


The Fiat Summer Finale sale has just been announced and the incentives are fantastic. Choose $500 off Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price on Pop, $1500 off MSRP on Sport, $2000 off MSRP on Lounge. ALL convertibles are eligible for $2000 off MSRP! OR…choose 0% financing for up to 60 months or 1.9% for 72 months with approved credit!

Check these incentives out!
  • 500 Pop Hatchback $500
  • 500 Sport Hatchback $1,500
  • 500 Lounge Hatchback $2,000
  • 500C Pop Cabrio $2,000
  • 500C Lounge Cabrio $2,000
Here is the deal on the deal... This ends Tuesday, Sept 4, 2012!

Find out what a million Fiat 500 owners worldwide know. Life is better in a Fiat...

Contact the following Fiat Studios for more details:

Criswell FIAT of Gaithersburg, Maryland - 1-888-878-2488

FIAT of Austin, Texas - 1-877-908-3428

Palmen FIAT of Kenosha, Wisconsin - 1-888-379-0295

Classic FIAT of Mentor, Ohio - 1-888-431-7186

Capitol FIAT of San Jose, California - 1-888-814-0969

Safford FIAT of Tysons Corners, Virginia - 1-888-716-2490

FIAT of Fredericksburg, Virginia - 1-888-904-4977

FIAT of Larchmont, New York - 1-888-405-2249

Benson FIAT, South Carolina - 1-888-380-1716

or go to the Fiat USA website here to find your nearest dealer.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fiat 500 Best in the 2012 Total Quality Awards

Fiat 500c Cabrio

The Fiat 500 has earned another accolade. Strategic Vision has announced its 2012 Total Quality Awards™ winners and the Fiat 500 has taken the top spot in its segment.

The Fiat 500 was ranked number one in Total Quality in the small car category, beating the Nissan Sentra, Chevrolet Sonic, Honda Civic and Mazda Mazda3 among others. The Total Quality Award measures the overall ownership experience.

Total Quality Index score as ranked by customers:
1 Fiat 500 Hatchback 869
2 Smart fortwo Coupe 858
3 Nissan Sentra 856
4 Chevrolet Sonic 853
5 Mazda Mazda3 Sedan 847
6 Honda Civic 846
6 Hyundai Elantra Sedan 846
8 Kia Forte 840
9 Chevrolet Cruze 838
10 Mitsubishi Lancer 837

Segment Average: 837

According to Strategic Vision,  differences of 3-5 points in this scoring system are significant, so the Fiat 500s score over its competitors is impressive.

Strategic Vision is a research firm that specializes in understanding consumer decision making and used by a variety of Fortune 100 clients. Strategic Vision has presented Total Quality Awards™ annually since 1995.

The Total Quality Index score is based on the following:

Satisfaction with the complete ownership experience
Perception of quality
Owner reported delight
Future purchase intent
Emotional attachment to vehicle

Fiat of Gaithersburg

In the press release that accompanied the announcement, Strategic Vision said:

Perhaps the biggest surprise is the most improved corporation—Chrysler Group. “They are definitely beginning to turn things around and the Fiat 500 (Small Car Segment winner) is just one example. Attributes like Fiat 500's Exterior Styling and Workmanship, and even Sound Systems, all become part of the Total Quality equation when one explicitly captures the heart and mind of how customer's think when spending $20,000 to $100,000 on a vehicle,” adds Darrel Edwards, Ph.D. and Strategic Vision Chairman/Founder.

Source: Strategic Vision

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fiat Wins Drivers' Championship in B-Spec

2012 Fiat 500 B-Spec Racer

The dust has settled on the inaugural Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car B-spec racing series and Fiat 500 driver Jonathan Start has taken home the series drivers' championship crown.

The final three races of the series were run this past weekend and Jonathan Start, driving the his No. 00 Fiat 500 clinched the title with 2 fourth place and 1 fifth place wins. Start, who is in his rookie year, won the series by his consistent high place finishes throughout the year.

The Touring Car B class, or the B-spec racing series as it is commonly called, was created to give racing enthusiasts an affordable way to get into racing. The series features sub-compact cars such as the Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, Kia Rio, Mazda2, and Nissan Versa.

Fiat 500 B-Spec Racer

Modifications for racing in the series are limited to shocks, springs and the required safety equipment.

As a testament to the engineering of the Fiat 500 and Start's driving ability, remember the 101 HP Fiat 500 consistently placed ahead of: the 138 HP Chevrolet Sonic, the 120 HP Ford Fiesta, 117 HP Honda Fit, 138 HP Kia Rio, and 122 HP Nissan Versa.

2012 Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car B manufacturers' points standings
1 Honda(TCB) 67
2 Fiat(TCB) 44
3 Ford(TCB) 36
4 Kia(TCB) 33
5 Mazda(TCB) 28

 2013Fiat 500 Turbo
Does the new 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo hold the key to next year's Championship?

The Fiat 500 placed second in B-spec manufacturers' points standings. The big question for next year is will the new 130 HP 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo make it into the series? Another 29 HP will even out the horsepower race and, combined with the capable Fiat 500 chassis, should make it the car to beat. As always, keep your fingers crossed!

Read the full press release on Jonathan Start's championship win below:

Fiat 500 Driver Jonathan Start Claims Inaugural Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car B-Spec Championship

Monday, August 27, 2012

Don't Miss The Abarth Experience!

Fiat 500 Abarth autocross

Carlo Abarth life's passion was racing. His exhaust and car factories existed solely to fund this calling, and his motto "Go faster than yesterday" expressed his life's philosophy. True to the Abarth heritage, the new Fiat 500 Abarth spent a considerable amount of development time on the race track. Abarth engineers love to race, and it shows. The limits of this car are so high that mere mortals may never be able to fully exploit its capabilities, especially on the street. To give owners of a new Fiat 500 Abarth a glimpse of the full performance of this car, each 500 Abarth comes with a track day driving event called the Abarth Experience.

Fiat 500 Abarth

At the Abarth Experience, owners are able to explore the performance of the 500 Abarth in a safe and controlled race track environment under the watchful eyes of professional high performance driving instructors. One more thing - Fiat supplies the cars!

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the Abarth Experience and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Here are some of the highlights:

Abarth Autocross — Beat the clock

The Abarth Autocross is a race against the clock. Drivers need to stay between the cones and put down their fastest time for the team. It's about being precise with your steering and having quick reflexes. Remember to use the brakes! Electronic timing accurate to 1/1,000th of a second determines the winner, but don't hit a cone.

You're given 3 runs. Two runs are back to back so you can get the feel of the car and the course. Your last run is later, after you have had some time to digest and watch what others have done. It's first gear all the way, but that is plenty fast - trust me! The goal is to shave time off of your previous run.

Fiat 500 Abarth drag race

Abarth Head-to-Head Challenge — Faceoff!

This is a blast. It's like your classic street race, but with some twists and turns thrown in! You stage at a dragstrip light tree. Wait for the green light and GO! Race down the 400 ft straight away and then make a dead stop within the marked off stop box. Power on and do a tight autocross like section on your way back. Whoever gets back first wins. Just don't hit cones or miss the stop box.

This was tons of fun to do and to watch. The object of the dragstrip start is to get enough wheel spin to keep the engine in its power band and not bog it down. Some did the - hold redline and dump the clutch trick-, but this doesn't work that well in the Abarth. Long smoky burnouts are my specialty, so my technique was to bring the revs to about 3 grand and then, when the final yellow light turns off, floor the gas and modulate the clutch in. By feathering the clutch, you can keep the engine from bogging and get a decent launch. I got into second gear before I shut down and got hard on the brakes. I let the ABS and the Electronic Brake Assist (Hydraulic Brake Assistance or HBA*) take care of my stopping, so just mashed the brake pedal down as hard as possible.

I did pretty decently in the competition, tying for third, even after blowing a stop box on a race I would have won. My moment of glory done in by a few inches!

Fiat 500 Abarth on road course

Abarth Driving Dynamics — Road Course

A Fiat 500 Abarth on a road course. This is truly home to the 500 Abarth. Driving the car with a professional racer guiding you, telling you where to brake, turn in, what gear to be in is a tremendous help on an unfamiliar track. You'll get the feel of the track, plus what you can comfortably do in the car. Listen and you will be fine! You are not going to out drive the car - trust me- you'll see when you go for a ride at the end of the day...

We did three sets of 2.5 laps around the Englishtown racetrack. With the car left in third gear, we were able to concentrate on getting the correct line and learning the track. Still, speeds in the 70 - 80 mph range kept things entertaining.

Fiat 500 Abarth braking

Abarth Performance Drive — Show 'em what you got!

Your last turn at the wheel and now go for it. At your pace, of course. Your instructor is there to let you know if you're in trouble. This is time to enjoy yourself and use the car as hard as you dare for 2.5 laps, without the worries of police, telephone poles and animals running across the road! On the fast part of the track, I hit fourth gear and about 90 mph before I baled out to slow down for the upcoming second gear turn. Lots of fun!

Hot Laps with a Pro Driver — Strap in and hang on!

Gives you the opportunity to see what a skilled professional racing driver can do with the considerable performance of the Fiat 500 Abarth. These guys make you feel like you've been driving with the handbrake on. You will not believe how fast they go!

Fiat 500 Abarth cornering

You will also see how rugged the Abarth is. This deserves particular mention because the cars were pounded mercilessly by both professionals and participants all day long and still performed as new. In fact, this was the eighth day of the program, but you couldn't tell from the cars. Impressive.


The Abarth Experience is something you cannot miss. This program is unique in the Fiat 500 Abarth's market segment and really gives you a taste of what the car is all about. More than just a powerful engine stuffed into a neat car, the Fiat 500 Abarth was born from a legendary racing heritage, and you can tell the engineers who produced the car are true enthusiasts and racers. This passion can be felt when driving the Fiat 500 Abarth at speed on a racetrack and gives you a connection to the great Abarth legacy.

Images: Chrysler Media and author
*system applies maximum braking effort within milliseconds when it interprets an emergency stopping situation. It automatically initiates full braking faster than any driver can move their foot.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Fiat 500 Racer Poised to Win B-spec Drivers' Championship

Fiat 500 B-Spec Racer

Fiat 500 racing driver Jonathan Start is close to winning the World Challenge Touring Car B-spec drivers' championship this weekend. The Fiat 500 is also in the running to grab the manufacturer's title, so keep your fingers crossed. Below are the details and a link to watch the races. Good Luck Jonathan!

Fiat 500 Driver Jonathan Start Carries Point Lead into 2012 Season Finale Weekend
  • Three Race Rounds Scheduled at Sonoma to Decide Season Championship
August 23, 2012 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - The 2012 season championship is on the line this weekend at Sonoma, Calif., in the World Challenge Touring Car B-spec series. Michigan-native Jonathan Start is looking to wrap up the B-spec title at the California road course in the No. 00 Fiat 500.

Start carries a 41-point advantage into the weekend as B-spec competitors will challenge the 12-turn, 1.99-mile road course three times in two days – a pair of 25-minute timed events separated by a 15-minute break on Saturday and a 40-minute timed event on Sunday will complete the nine-race 2012 schedule.

“This is the first time I’ve raced here at Sonoma,” Start said. “We’re looking for strong finishes in all three races and hopefully we can bring home the championship. That doesn’t mean that I’m not going for the top spot. I’m going to push hard.”

In April, Start got the inaugural season of Touring Car B-spec competition off to a fast start by posting back-to-back wins at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah and followed up with a fourth the next day. The series traveled across the border in June to Canada (Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, Bowmanville, Ontario) for the second event weekend where Start posted three third-place finishes.

Fiat 500 B-Spec Racer

“The Fiat 500, it’s been phenomenal,” said Start who is racing his first season in the pro ranks “The performance and durability has been unbelievable. I really enjoyed racing this category, and I hope the B-spec series takes off. It’s just so much fun to race this fast Fiat 500.”

Modifications for racing in the series are limited to shocks, springs and the required safety equipment.

“This inaugural season of B-spec competition is a testament of the solid engineering and durability behind the Fiat 500,” said Tim Kuniskis, Head of the FIAT Brand for North America, Chrysler Group LLC. “We’re looking forward to the exciting conclusion of the Pirelli World Challenge season this weekend and we wish Jonathan the best of luck as he focuses on bringing home the championship.”

SRT Road Racing Manager Gary Johnson is looking for a continuation of the high performance level at Sonoma.

“The Fiat 500 should be very strong at Sonoma this weekend,” he said. “Jonathan had a very quick start this season with two wins at the opening weekend at Miller Motorsports Park and has been competing extremely hard ever since. He’s leading the driver championship point standings and with some good results this weekend in front of his family members, including his father (Tom), Jonathan should be able to bring home the first World Challenge B-spec Championship for the Fiat brand. Our team has a lot of faith in Jonathan to go out and run the final three races while being totally focused on the championship goal.”

Qualifying is scheduled for Friday at 12:15 p.m. (Pacific time). The first of Saturday’s back-to-back B-spec races starts at 4:10 p.m. (Pacific time). Teams will take a 15-minute break before starting the second race. Sunday’s race is scheduled to get the green flag at 9:50 a.m. (Pacific time).

This weekend’s Pirelli World Challenge Series’ Touring Car B-Spec races from Sonoma will be streamed live online at Live audio from Friday’s qualifying session will be available at the same site at 12:15 p.m. (Pacific time).

The coverage continues Saturday with live video from the back-to-back B-Spec races starting at 4:10 p.m. (Pacific time). There’s a 15-minute break between races. The final B-Spec race of the season and third of the weekend is set for Sunday at 9:50 a.m. (Pacific time).

(After 6 of 9 rounds)
2. Craig Capaldi 651
3. Andre Rapone 480
4. Sage Marie 335
5. Jim Kenzie 314
6. Peter Schwartzott Jr. 262
7. Shaun Bailey 252
8. Russell Smith 230
9. Conner Ford 190
10. P.J. Groenke 165

Chrysler Media Press Release

Monday, August 20, 2012

Fiat 500 Summer Clearance Event

Fiat 500c Cabrio

The last days of summer are fast approaching, and Fiat wants it to end on a high note for you. Fiat USA and Fiat Studios have teamed up to offer an end of summer clearance event that makes the stylish Fiat 500 even more affordable. For a limited time only, Fiat has put together the following attractive incentives:
  • Lease a 2012 FIAT 500 POP for $199 per month for 42 months. $0 due at signing. No security deposit required.
  • No monthly payments for 90 days.
  • As low as 0% APR financing for up to 60 months on Lounge,Sport,Pop and Gucci models.
  • Up to $500 Cash Allowance on Lounge, Sport, Pop and Gucci models. 

Plus Fiat Studios are also offering their own specials. Now is your chance to get in on the fun with the award winning Fiat 500, but hurry, because the sale ends September 4th!

Contact the following Fiat Studios for more details:

Criswell FIAT of Gaithersburg, Maryland - 1-888-878-2488

FIAT of Austin, Texas - 1-877-908-3428

Palmen FIAT of Kenosha, Wisconsin - 1-888-379-0295

Classic FIAT of Mentor, Ohio - 1-888-431-7186

Capitol FIAT of San Jose, California - 1-888-814-0969

Safford FIAT of Tysons Corners, Virginia - 1-888-716-2490

FIAT of Fredericksburg, Virginia - 1-888-904-4977

FIAT of Larchmont, New York - 1-888-405-2249

or go to the Fiat USA website here to find your nearest dealer.

Fiat 500c Cabrio

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Fiat 500 Turbo Unveiling

A peek at the new 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo
Matt Davis, Head of Fiat Brand Marketing, gives us a peek at the new 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo, unveiled Friday at Concorso Italiano

The Fiat 500 Turbo, unveiled yesterday at the Concorso Italiano auto show, has been drawing much interest across the internet.  The newest addition to the Fiat 500 lineup is positioned somewhere between the fun to drive 500 Sport and the hard core 500 Abarth.

Here is video of the unveiling of the Fiat 500 Turbo for those who were unable to enjoy the gorgeous Concorso Italiano venue. Images of the 500 Turbo are courtesy of Fiat USA and the good folks at 500 Madness, one of the premier Fiat 500 accessory dealers here in the US.

Fiat 500T

Fiat 500 Turbo

Fiat 500 by 500 Madness

Video and Matt Davis Image courtesy of Fiat USA

Friday, August 17, 2012

The New 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo is Finally Here!

Fiat 500 Turbo

The highly anticipated 2013 Fiat 500T will be making its debut today during the Concorso Italiano automobile show held in Monterey, California. Called the Fiat 500 Turbo, the new car is based on the Fiat 500 Sport but uses a turbocharged version of the Sport's 1.4L MultiAir engine and a beefed up driveline, first seen on the Fiat 500 Abarth.

Fiat 500 Turbo

The Facts
The twin intercooled 1.4-liter MultiAir® Turbo engine puts out 135 horsepower and 150 lb.-ft. of torque, up from the 101 horsepower and 98 lb.-ft of torque the regular 500’s naturally aspirated 1.4-liter MultiAir engine produced. This 34 percent gain of power and 53 percent gain in torque go through an upgraded driveline utilizing the heavy duty C510 5 speed transmission and features equal length driveshafts. To eliminate torque steer, the driveshaft's diameter were increased 23 percent (28.1 mm vs. 22.8 mm) compared with Fiat 500 half shafts. An interesting fact is the 1972 Lancia Beta pioneered the use equal length driveshafts in a transverse engined, front wheel drive application and it was latter adapted for use on the 1978 Fiat Ritmo / Strada.

Fiat 500 Turbo

To cope with the substantial increase in power, larger constant velocity (CV) joints are also used and offer 53 percent greater torsional strength than the standard Fiat 500's (2600 N•m vs. 1700 N•m in the Fiat 500).

Fuel economy is said to be 34 MPG on the highway.

Fiat 500 Turbo rear bumper

A dual ringed , single exhaust tip highlights a performance tuned exhaust, specifically engineered for the 500 Turbo. It differs from the 500 Sport's and the unmuffled 500 Abarth's.

Brakes in the Fiat 500 Turbo are the same as the 500 Abarth's and are upgraded to 11.1 inch front discs, up 1 inch over the 500 Sport's.

The Fiat 500 Turbo inherits the uprated suspension calibrations used in the Fiat 500 Sport, meaning the springs and dampers are more aggressive than in the 500 Pop and Lounge models, but still offer a comfortable ride. This is in keeping with the 500 Turbo's role of being a daily driver but with a healthy dose of attitude.

Tim Kuniskis, Head of Fiat Brand North America says:
“We listened to our customers. The new Fiat 500 Turbo is the answer to all the fans that loved the style of our Cinquecento but wanted more power and performance for their daily drive. With 135 horsepower and 150 lb.-ft. of torque, the Fiat 500 Turbo hits the sweet spot between the regular Cinquecento and the high-performance Fiat 500 Abarth. The Fiat 500 Turbo balances and blends the best Italian flavors that our portfolio has to offer, becoming the perfect canvas for customization.”

Fiat 500 Turbo

The front fascia from the Fiat 500 Abarth will be recognized, but with the Fiat logo added. The rear fascia is also reminiscent of the 500 Abarth's, but with a single exhaust outlet and  different diffuser styling.  Headlights, turn signals and taillights with  black bezels replace chromed units from the normal  Fiat 500.  Look to see them available as an accessory later this year.

Bold sideskirts are also borrowed from the 500 Abarth and replace the smaller ones that are standard on the 500 Sport. Wheels are 16x6.5 aluminum alloys with black painted pockets and wear  195/45R16XL low profile tires.

Exterior colors for the 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo include Argento (silver), Bianco (white), Grigio (gray), Nero (black), Rame (copper), Rosso (red) and all-new Verde Azzurro (green & blue.)

Fiat 500 Turbo with Beats Audio

Inside, the new Fiat 500 Turbo features sport-styled seating, sport-designed leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel accented with Argento (silver) stitching, and a Grigio/Nero (gray/black)seating and interior environment. For an even more upscale look, heated leather seating in Nero/Nero (black/black) or vivid Rosso/Nero (red/black) is available.

New Beats by Dr. Dre audio system
New for 2013, the segment-exclusive – and first-time-ever in a small car and FIAT automobile – Beats by Dr. Dre audio system offers passengers of the Fiat 500 Turbo a high-definition music experience the way the artist intended. The available Beats Audio studio-quality sound system includes six premium speakers, an 8-inch dual-voice coil (DVC) subwoofer with trunk-mounted enclosure and eight-channel 368-watt amplifier with Beats Audio digital sound processing (DSP) algorithm.

The 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo arrives to FIAT Studios this fall with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $19,500 excluding $700 destination charge.

Join the discussion on the Fiat 500 USA Forum. Get the answers to your questions about the new Fiat 500 Turbo.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fiat 500T Standard Equipment Comparison

First published image of the Fiat 500t

The long rumored and now confirmed Fiat 500t will make its debut at the 'Concorso Italiano' car show in Monterey California (Laguna Seca Golf Ranch 9am-5pm) this Friday, August 17th. Since I posted the first images of the Fiat 500t back in March (read here), the internet has been ablaze with rumors and speculations. Dealers have now been given the go ahead to order one 500t for their Studios, most likely as a demonstrator, and now I've gotten preliminary info on the differences between the new Fiat 500t and the 500 Abarth, which I've posted in the chart below.

The Fiat 500t will use the 1.4L I4 16V MultiAir Turbo Engine from the 500 Abarth, but de-tuned to 135HP. The heavy duty c510 transmission from the 500 Abarth will also be utilised. Based primarily on the Fiat 500 Sport, the 500t will have a single exhaust, sport tuned suspension and the 16 x 6.5 wheels from the 500 Sport, but with black painted pockets instead of the normally grey painted ones. Darkened headlights and tailights have been confirmed. The car I saw earlier this year used Abarth front and rear fascias, but we'll have to see Friday if that made it into production.

2013 Fiat 500t

The Fiat 500t features the 500 Sport's interior highlighted with silver accent stitching and cloth door inserts. Missing will be the 160 mph speedo, boost gauge, leather wrapped instrument panel cluster and aluminum pedal covers from the 500 Abarth. The 3 Mode Electronic Stability Control and Torque Transfer Control (TTC) will also be absent.

2013 FIAT 500t Free Standing Options:
Comfort & Convenience Group (AFB)
Heated Front Seats
ATC – Automatic Climate Control
Security Alarm
Sirius Satellite Radio
Leather Seats (*AL)
Available in Black and Red Leather
Beats Premium Audio Package (AAX)
Beats Premium Audio System
Security Alarm
Sirius Satellite Radio
Power Sunroof (GWL)

Colors (preliminary info - not confirmed)

Stay tuned to for more news on the exciting Fiat 500t!

2013 Fiat 500t and Fiat 500 Abarth Standard Equipment Comparison

EAF 1.4L I4 16V MultiAir Turbo Engine Y Y
NLP 10.5 Gallon Fuel Tank Y Y
BAN 120 Amp Alternator Y Y
JJJ 12V Auxiliary Power Outlet Y Y
WNB 16X6.5 Aluminum Wheels Y Y
T1D 195/45R16XL Tires Y Y
CX2 2 Front Cupholders Y Y
CD1 2 Rear Floor Mounted Cupholders Y Y
DDE 5-Spd C510 Manual Transmission Y Y
NAS 50 State Emissions Y Y
BCD 500 Amp Maintenance Free Battery Y Y
CG3 Advanced Multistage Front Air Bags Y Y
HAA Air Conditioning w/Micron Filter Y Y
BR4 Anti-Lock 4-Wheel Disc Perf Brakes Y Y
RST Auxilary Audio Input Jack Y Y
LMC Bi-Function Halogen Projector H/Lamp Y Y
MMG Black Belt Molding Y Y
RSY BLUE&ME Handsfree Communication Y Y
GTK Body Color Power Heated Mirrors Y Y
JEG Bodycolor Instrument Panel Bezels Y Y
MNP Bright License Plate Brow Y Y
CGU Child Seat Anchor System-LATCH Ready Y Y
MNC Chrome Door Handles Y Y
MTN Chrome Interior Door Handles Y Y
CX8 CORA Tire Press Monitoring Sensor Y Y
LMK Daytime Running Headlamps, High Beam Y Y
TBF Delete Spare Tire Y Y
X82 Door Parts Module Y Y
CTL Door Trim w/Cloth Inserts Y Y
CDH Driver Height Adjuster Seat Y Y
CUA Driver Seat Armrest Y Y
LEQ Driver Seat Memory Y Y
CGY Driver Side Knee Bag Y Y
SBL Electric Power Steering Y Y
BNB Electronic Stability Control Y Y
GXW Engine Immobilizer Y Y
LES Exterior Spotter Mirrors Y Y
CKB Floor Carpet Y Y
LNJ Fog Lamps Y Y
X83 Front End Parts Module Y Y
X8W Front Fascias Parts Module Y Y
LAX Front Passenger Seat Belt Alert Y Y
LBG Front Reading/Map Lamps Y Y
CSM Front Seatback Pockets, Driver/Pass Y Y
X84 Front Suspension Parts Module Y Y
Z1A GVW/Payload Rating Y Y
BNG Hill Start Assist Y Y
X81 Instrument Panel Parts Module Y Y
XEH Jack and Wrench Y Y
CVB Leather Wrapped Shift Knob Y Y
JKA Locking Glove Box Y Y
APA Monotone Paint Y Y
XJG Non Locking Fuel Filler Cap Y Y
CSR Overhead Passenger Assist Handle Y Y
JPB Power Locks Y Y
JPY Pwr Windows, Front 1-Touch Down Y Y
CAU Rear 50/50 Split Fold-Down Seat Y Y
LCD Rear Cargo Area Lamp Y Y

CSF Rear Cargo Shelf Panel Y Y
X85 Rear Suspension Parts Module Y Y
GNA Rear View Day/Night Mirror Y Y
GFA Rear Window Defroster Y Y
JHB Rear Window Wiper/Washer Y Y
XSP Red Brake Calipers Y Y
GXM Remote Keyless Entry Y Y
RDB Removable Short Mast Antenna Y Y
X8Z Seat Parts Module Y Y
CJ4 Side Curtain Frt/Rr Air Bags Y Y
XGU Side Sills Ground Effects Y Y
NHM Speed Control Y Y
RDZ Steering Wheel Mounted Audio Ctrls Y Y
GNV Sun Visors w/Vanity Mirror Y Y
CJ1 Supplemental Frt Seat Side Air Bags Y Y
JFH Tachometer Y Y
SUA Tilt Steering Column Y Y
GAC Tinted Glass Windows Y Y
GBB Tinted Windshield Glass Y Y
X88 Tire & Wheel Parts Module Y Y
XGM Tire Pressure Monitoring Display Y Y
XFP Tire Service Kit Y Y
JHA Var Intermittent Windshield Wipers Y Y
LAZ Vehicle Information Center Y Y
NZP 135 Horse Power Rating Y
NZN 160 Horse Power Rating Y
JCF 160 MPH Primary Speedometer Y
BNC 3 Mode Electronic Stability Control Y
RCG 6 Speakers Y
MEA Abarth Exterior Badging Y
XPY Abarth Track Experience Y
RC4 Alpine Premium Audio System Y
XAR Aluminum Pedal Covers Y
ML3 Body Color Fascias Y
MLS Body Color Fasciasas Y
NEC Chrome Exhaust Tip Y
NEL Dual Bright Exhaust Tips Y
MW4 Fiat 500 Badge Y
CLA Front Floor Mats Y
CBD Front Seat Reactive Head Restraints Y
JAT Leather Wrapped Instr. Pnl Cluster Y
SCG Leather Wrapped Sport Steering Wheel Y
CL3 Luxury Front Floor Mats Y
JCJ MPH Primary Speedometer Y
*A5 Perf Cloth High-Back Bucket Seats Y
SCJ Perforated Leather Wrapped Strg Whl Y
SDD Performance Suspension Y
MXW Rear Bodycolor Spoiler Y
MXD Rear Spoiler Y
LSA Security Alarm Y
JEC Silver Accent Stitching Y
*Q6 Sport Cloth Bucket Seats Y
SDE Sport Suspension Y
BN1 Torque Transfer Control Y
JFG Turbo Boost Gauge Y

Monday, August 13, 2012

2012 Fiat FreakOut Wrap Up

Fiat 500s at 2012 Fiat FreakOut

Fiat FreakOut for 2012 was a huge hit. The four day event kicked off with an exciting track day run by Phil Wicks Driving Academy at Virginia International Raceway, numerous scenic drives through the absolutely gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountain area of Virginia and lots of get together time meeting interesting friendly Fiat, Lancia and Alfa Romeo owners.

Fiat 124 Spiders
Fiat 124 Spiders of all years. Pininfarina designed one of the most elegant small convertibles ever made.

Fiat 500 and 500 Abarths
New Fiat 500 and 500 Abarths were in abundance.  Unlike many car clubs,  the Fiat Lancia Unlimited Club (FLU) welcomes the new cars along with the older models. There is something there for everyone to enjoy and appreciate.

Fiat Uno
The Fiat Uno was European Car of the Year in 1984.  The Uno was a revolutionary design because it featured tall roof / high seating, making it surprisingly roomy. Its design set the standard for the modern small car. Despite being boxy, it is quite aerodynamic, with a drag coefficient of .34.  Fiat Group Auto holds the record for winning the most European Car of the Year Awards. Read more here.

Fiat 124 sedan
The Fiat 124 sedan was also voted European Car of the year.  This time it was 1967 and the 124 showed the world that a car the size of a VW Beetle could be roomy, fast and safe. For example, this car has four wheel disc brakes, something that took American car manufacturers almost thirty years to catch up with.

Lombardi Grand Prix
Seeing this Lombardi Grand Prix was a rare treat. Small car companies in Italy would often use Fiat chassis and come up with beautiful designs like this.

Alfa Romeo Giulietta
Alfa Romeo was well represented with cars like this Giulietta.

Lancia Scorpion
The Lancia Scorpion was designed in the early 1970s and still looks striking today. The car originally was meant to replace the Fiat 124 Spider, but the design was given to Lancia as a reward for their impressive racing victories with the Lancia Stratos among other models.

Lancia Montecarlo front end
Another look at the Lancia Scorpion. In Europe, the car is called the Lancia Montecarlo. This car has the original European style front end with an aftermarket airdam. Only the Italians offered cars with this much style in the mid 1970s.

Fiat 500 Abarth with Mopar accessories
Fiat USA brought a car with prototype blacked out headlights, turn signals and tailights that will be available at Fiat Studios through its Mopar parts division. September may finally bring these and other long awaited Abarth accessories to your local Fiat Studio, so keep an eye out for them.

Fiat 500 blacked out headlights by Mopar

Fiat 500 black trim tailights by Mopar

Lamborghini Miura and Ferrari 348
Of course, whenever there is a Fiat car show, the exotics come out. This Lamborghini Miura and Ferrari 348 were just some of the eye candy to enjoy. Exotics like these never look out of place at a Fiat show. You'll never see this at a Toyota or Hyundai show, my friends.

Tim Kuniskis at 2012 Fiat FreakOut

Tim Kuniskis, Head of Fiat Brand North America, gave a presentation and then graciously held a question and answer session at the Fiat FreakOut closing dinner. He gave an overview on how the marketing for the 500 evolved and where it is heading in the future.

Kuniskis revealed they are shooting a follow up to the Seduction ad, this time featuring another car. Also, there will be five new versions of the Immigration ad, highlighting different US cities.

New model information was kept in check, but there were some hints. The upcoming Fiat 500L will make it across the Atlantic, but adapted to the US market, much like how the US Fiat 500 was modified from its European cousin. In Europe, the 500L will be available with the two cylinder TwinAir engine, but that engine has been dismissed out of hand for the US. My sources tell me the TwinAir engine, at least in its current form, has to be operated at such a high duty cycle to keep up with driving conditions here in the US, that fuel economy suffers and negates many of the TwinAir's advantages.

Likewise, the 1.3L MultiJet II diesel engine is also a long shot because certification costs would add considerably to the price of the car, making the diesel engine option a tough business case to argue.

Fiat 500 Coupé Zagato

Interestingly, Kuniskis brought up the Fiat 500 Coupé Zagato concept car and wanted opinions of those in the room on this vehicle. Unfortunately, it seems there weren't many at the dinner that knew of this stunning car, but if we keep our fingers crossed maybe we'll see the 500 by Zagato in North America.

During the question and answer period, Kuniskis mentioned that 2013 Fiat 500 Abarth production will be increased substantially to meet, but not exceed the demand for this car. This should be happy news for those who have had a hard time finding an Abarth. Kuniskis cautioned though, there will never be a glut of these cars at Fiat Studios.

On a personal note, what came across during Kuniskis' 45 minute presentation was his enthusiasm, openness and ability to field the tough questions. When you realise that auto execs are dealing with car plans that are 2 -3 years ahead of current production and the need to not let anything out of the bag, it was quite a coup for Kuniskis to jump right in and field any and all questions.

2012 Fiat FreakOut was the biggest Fiat event yet, and we can't wait to see what's in store for next year. Rest assured it will be another great time. Keep an eye on the FLU website and for more FreakOut news.

Check out Fiat 500 USA's 2012 Fiat FreakOut photo album below.

Image of Fiat 500s at 2012 Fiat FreakOut courtesy of Fiat Lancia Unlimited