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Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Fiat Centoventi Future of Fiat

Fiat Concept Centoventi

Fiat was founded in 1899 and is celebrating its 120th anniversary this year. During the past 12 decades, Fiat has contributed immensely to automotive design and the company's innovations have influenced nearly every car on the road today.

In keeping with this tradition, Fiat has unveiled a concept car called the Centoventi that hints at future Fiat models and ushers in the next generation of EVs and how cars will be sold. The Centoventi features add on modular battery packs offering up to a 500km range and takes customization to the next level with a choice of 4 roofs, 4 bumpers, 4 wheel covers, and 4 external wrappings, as well as multiple interior appointments. How owners can personalize their cars will be done in an 'Affordable, but Cool (ABC) way and even includes 3D printing by owners.

Fiat 128 Cutaway

Fiats tradition of award-winning and innovative design stretches back 120 years. The 1969 Fiat 128 set the pattern of the modern front-wheel-drive car that the majority of FWD cars have used ever since. Fiat's innovative belt driven twin camshaft engine from 1966 was a world first and brought this high-performance valvetrain design architecture to the affordable car market. It is no wonder that Fiat holds the record of winning the most European Car of The Year awards than any other manufacturer. The Fiat 500 itself has won more than 140 awards and accolades since its introduction.

While there is no mention of if the Centoventi will make it in production, you can expect some elements and the concepts explored to show up in the next generation of Fiat cars, most likely in a new Fiat Panda model. Explore the Fiat Centoventi below, courtesy of FCA Press.

Fiat Concept Centoventi: the “democratic” answer to electric mobility

  • For its 120th anniversary, Fiat is presenting the Fiat Concept Centoventi concept car, a new milestone in the history of Fiat, in Geneva.
  • A pioneer of democratic mobility throughout its history, today Fiat is offering an electric mobility solution affordable for all.
  • “Democratising” everything trend-setting is part of the brand's DNA: “The ABC of cars. Affordable But Cool”.
  • With Fiat Concept Centoventi, the customer can configure the interiors, choose the accessories and adapt the spaces according to their needs to create a car which is genuinely unique.
  • Customisation goes a step further. The modular battery pack of the Fiat Concept Centoventi allows drivers to extend the range from 100 to 500 km simply by buying or renting additional battery units.
  • Fiat Concept Centoventi is a "blank canvas". Produced in just one livery, it can be "painted" by the customer using the "4U" program, with a choice of 4 roofs, 4 bumpers, 4 wheel covers and 4 external wrappings.
  • Mopar is the FCA brand dedicated to aftersales products and services and partnered up with Fiat to develop the Fiat Concept Centoventi. Mopar will develop, manufacture and handle the logistics of accessories for the Fiat Concept Centoventi.
  • Fiat Concept Centoventi picks up the world-famous style elements of the brand, which have become distinctive of Italian design and creativity.

The 2019 Geneva International Motor Show sees the debut of the Fiat Concept Centoventi, the concept car that perfectly expresses the Italian brand's idea of electric mass mobility in the near future. It is the expression of a bold, democratic future vision based on 120 years of history and experience in the field - hence the name of the prototype that means "One Hundred and Twenty" in Italian - which, maintaining the tradition, is destined to break away from the past and push beyond.

Just as in the Fifties, for example, when the Fiat 500 sparked an industrial and cultural revolution, overcoming traditional categories in looks, design and engineering to become a masterpiece, unlike anything else in the automotive industry history, the first real example of mobility affordable to the mass market.

But can we imagine something just as revolutionary in the future of our modern cities? The answer to this question is Fiat Concept Centoventi, the market's most affordable electric mobility solution and one of the few also able to provide a really worthwhile range, for tackling long out-of-town trips.

To conceive and develop it, the brand has focused its attention on its most pop, affordable, ingenious side, mining the vein that has yielded cars with incredibly modular interiors and striking stylistic personality. Fittingly, the Fiat Concept Centoventi projects the brand into the future, with its innate ability to "democratise" everything appealing and trendsetting: "The ABC of cars. Affordable But Cool”.

Fiat Concept Centoventi, a brief outline
Fiat Concept Centoventi is fundamentally a "blank canvas” ready to be painted to suit the customer's tastes and needs at any time of his life or day, without no customisation restrictions linked to the specific time of purchase. In fact, it will be produced in just one livery, which customers will be able to personalise using the "4U" program, with a choice of 4 roofs, 4 bumpers, 4 wheel covers and 4 external wrappings.

So, just like modern devices, this vehicle can be updated with the greatest freedom and imagination in its colours, interior configuration, roof configuration, infotainment system and even battery range.

And this is one of the concept car's strong points: owners no longer have to wait for new special editions or facelifts, as they can "change" their cars any day they like. It is made even more revolutionary by the presence, at the launch, of 120 additional accessories that will generate a genuinely new business model, as well as a community of Fiat Concept Centoventi fans.

In other words, Fiat Concept Centoventi is the response to a real design and business challenge, which embodies the functional spirit of the brand and pays tribute to its 120 years of history, at the same time, with a modern take on some trademark style elements that hint to the Panda of the 1980s.

 Fiat Concept Centoventi is inspired by Italian design and embodies Fiat's "less is more" concept, which means getting rid of everything unnecessary and complex in a car to provide more space for people (More You), for attention to the environment and the community (More Care) and for the brand's DNA in terms of values and looks (More Fiat).

By playing these three cards, Fiat Concept Centoventi revolutionises the idea of electric mobility, in town and out, successfully overcoming the tougher and tougher challenges - in terms of traffic, regulations and costs of ownership - while simultaneously making the most of the new opportunities offered by electricity.

Fiat Concept Centoventi: An innovative business model
So Fiat Concept Centoventi can be constructed just as the owner wishes, inaugurating a new business model involving Mopar - the FCA group division that specialises in accessories, parts and services and enables innovative product personalisation, - the sales network and increasingly digital customers.

Except for six features (bumpers, polycarbonate roof, livery, Lingotto instrument cluster, batteries and digital tailgate), which can only be installed at dealerships, the other 114 accessories specially designed by Mopar - including the sound system, the dashboard and door storage compartments, the seat cushions, etc. - can also be purchased on-line and fitted by the customer at his own home.

What's more, some simply structured accessories, such as a cup-holder or a document-holder, for example, can actually be printed using a 3D printer, in the owner's home, at their dealership or at a specialist printing shop.

So this is a new business model for automotive accessories, enabling them to be resold or traded on the Web, nurturing a real community of brand fans or connoisseurs of Fiat's Italian design, just as with collectors' items. This new business model is focused on e-Commerce, the virtual market that knows no boundaries.

Cockpit with modular layout, on the "plug and play" principle
Modular, roomy and well lit are the words that best describe the Fiat Concept Centoventi cockpit, which is totally reconfigurable and can accommodate up to four people. You only have to get on board to realise that it has been designed around people and the way they relate to today's world.

In line with the car's philosophy, various parts of the interior are created on the "plug and play" principle. The dashboard has small holes into which a multitude of additional components, of any shape and function, can be fitted, thanks to the patented interlocking mounting system, rather like the famous Lego blocks.

The same approach is found on the door panels, which are totally customisable and inspired by refrigerator doors: with flat surfaces and minimal design, they can be fitted with storage pockets, bottle holders and audio speakers as and when required.

The seats are innovative, too, with a bare back structure made from eco-sustainable materials, while the cushions and head restraints can easily be replaced to change their colours and materials. The front passenger seat can even be substituted with a storage box or child seat if necessary. The rear seats consist of a retractable bench and a back which rotates to make a "trunk" with extraordinary load capacity.

Innovative seat and head restraint materials
Through its materials, Fiat Concept Centoventi explores new design horizons, drawing inspiration from trendy everyday items and exploiting innovative technological solutions and unique production processes. One of the many points of reference used are the sneakers, a fashion icon and very high-performance products. They inspired the seats of the Fiat Concept Centoventi, a masterpiece of Italian (or rather Fiat) creativity, achieved with the aid of top industrial partners.

The seat, for example, is made from an innovative plastic produced using an exclusive, patented production process involving a new plastic formulated using polyolefin resins. The end result is a material three times lighter than other mouldable plastics, like foams - and what's more it is coloured directly in the batch, meaning it has no external coating, looks attractive and is soft to the touch.

Furthermore, this innovative plastic is antimicrobic, UV-resistant and completely washable. Not to mention that it can be coloured in an infinite variety of shades, including metallic and pearly colours and bright or saturated pigments.

The “3D knit” technology of the seat backs and head restraints, made from 100% recycled yarns, is just as innovative. This technology has already been successfully used not only in the sports sector, such as for sneakers or other technical-sports garments, but also in interior design for creating innovative, functional, flexible seating. Moreover, the particular process is able to create fabric weaves of varying cross-section, which avoid the generation of waste materials requiring disposal.

New patented system of holes for the dashboard and new "Lingotto" 20" instrument cluster
In front of the driver is the innovative, one-piece dashboard, which tips its hat to the Panda's famous, historic "pocket" with an amazing Fiat-patented system of holes for the secure, personalised "anchoring" of a variety of accessories - from a cup holder to a bottle box, and from a glove compartment or anything else the customer may need - to build up a cosy, comfortable environment.

Just as revolutionary, the instrument panel is available in two solutions: the first, perfect for the Millennial generation, makes the smartphone the heart of the system, in combination with the cluster's main 10" screen, while the second, more traditional option features a second integrated display, giving a cluster of 20".

In the former case, at no extra cost, drivers can "hook up" their smartphone or tablet to the dashboard to use its navigation, music, messaging, etc. functions.

Anyone seeking a more traditional solution, on the other hand, can opt for the "Lingotto" instrument cluster, a sophisticated, Full Digital 20” device enclosed in a support styled to evoke the historic Fiat plant in Turin. Integrated in the "Lingotto" display's support are HMI driving assistance and safety functions, such as direction indicator, Blind Sport Alert system, braking system and battery charge status.

Not forgetting that the part of the “Lingotto” instrument cluster facing towards the windscreen has an additional display perfect for showing car-sharing messages.

Just one customisable livery
Fiat Concept Centoventi shifts the automotive paradigm. A single colour will be available, similar to treated metal plate, to simplify production, but at the same time the car will be extremely customisable.

The new "4U" program will allow customers to choose the combination of four roofs, four bumpers, four wheel covers and four wrapping films which, combined with an extensive catalogue of accessories, will make the Fiat Concept Centoventi unique and exclusive.

In particular, the wrapping can be performed by any dealer at any time, when requested by the customer. The operation is very fast, courtesy of the remarkably linear and flat exterior surfaces, and low cost. The effect is similar to a metallic paint job but unlike paint it will not be forever.

Born "open" but ready to be "closed" with style and innovation
The standard Fiat Concept Centoventi comes with an open roof, perfect for driving with the wind in your hair, which is of course closed by a "cap". As the other details, the roof can also be customised by choosing one of the available roof solutions – two-colour polycarbonate top, canvas soft top, integrated cargo box and even a roof integrating an innovative solar panel.

More in detail, the 50 Watts generated by the solar panel will keep the car cool when it is parked and will power the innovative digital display arranged under the tailgate which closes the rear volume.

The car becomes a social media device thanks to the modern display on the tailgate
The large tailgate can accommodate an innovative display that enables Fiat Concept Centoventi to supersede the concept of connectivity to become a real social media device, on which messages can be shared with the outdoor world.

When the vehicle is on the move, for obvious reasons of safety, the car will only show the Fiat logo, but once it stops, the driver can switch to "messenger" mode. What's more, the digital tailgate can easily become an "advertising billboard", which can be rented out to advertisers, to recoup the cost of parking, for example.

Modern reinterpretation of the Fiat stylistic language
Everything in the Fiat Concept Centoventi speaks of Fiat, particularly in its most charming and functional details, like the retro-futuristic minimalist hinges and locks, the new multifunctional dashboard that recalls the famous pocket, the slender seats, the coloured wheel covers, which today use the sector's most innovative materials and the front grille where the familiar vertical vents become the battery charge indicator LEDs.

The Fiat identity is not only clear in these details; the car's overall exterior look is also typical of the Italian brand. In a simple, uncluttered style, the new Fiat Concept Centoventi has rugged, compact, almost monolithic proportions, with dimensions that make the most of every space, to the point where the large block of the cockpit is "rested" on the one underneath, separated by a straight waistrail which underlines its two-box look and short line of contact with the bonnet.

This impression of solidity is also emphasised by the wide door bumpers made from a new expanded foam material that absorbs scratches and knocks without denting thanks to its elasticity. What's more, their “3d texture” emphasizes the feeling of protection and safety conveyed by the car's exterior.

Modulable electric range of up to 500 km
The freedom to customise is also clear in the electrical power source that drives Fiat Concept Centoventi. It consists of a set of modular batteries offering the great possible flexibility of use.

As standard, the car comes with a factory-mounted battery with a range of 100 km. But if a longer range is needed, up to 3 additional batteries, giving an increase of 100 km each, can be purchased or hired. The extra batteries are installed underneath the floor of the car, by the service network. A sliding rail which supports and connects the batteries makes their installation or removal particularly quick and easy.

An additional battery, for mounting under the seat, is also available; it can be disconnected and put on charge directly in the user's home or garage, just like the battery of a modern e-bike. The total range which can be achieved is 500 kilometres.

Impressively, the way the car is designed, with the roll centre exactly midway between the two axle shafts, and the placing of the batteries underneath the vehicle's centre of gravity, mean that the car's weight distribution and handling are unchanged regardless of the number of batteries installed. The braking system is suitably sized to ensure maximum deceleration even when fully laden.

Last but not least, the multiple charging socket is located at the bottom of the windscreen. Specifically, this is a cable reel housed underneath the trim, which eliminates the need for a cable cavity in the boot and, thanks to its central position, is equidistant from charging points on either side, or can act as a hub for several vehicles in case of energy sharing. The socket lights up in the dark and can be used as an electric torch and windscreen defrosting device.

Perfect for business and for sharing
As well as for individual use, Fiat Concept Centoventi is born ready to become the future star of company fleets, as well as for sharing with other users. No surprise, since Fiat Concept Centoventi excels in all aspects of urban mobility. It is the least expensive BEV on the market, partly thanks to the modular set of batteries, as well as being the easiest to clean, repair and service, with lower risk of damage and even lower total cost of ownership.

Fiat Concept Centoventi main technical data
• Length: 3680 mm
• Height: 1527 mm
• Width: 1740 mm (with door mirrors 1846 mm)
• Wheelbase: 2430 mm
• Front overhang: 658 mm
• Rear overhang: 592 mm

Read more:

Friday, March 1, 2019

Fiat Brand Sales for February 2019

Fiat 500c in the Snow

Overall car sales in the US were down in February, and the Fiat brand was not immune. Fiat sales in the US totaled just 616, a 50 percent decline compared to the same month last year. This is the lowest sales figure ever recorded since the brand came back in March 2011 and 18 percent lower than last month, which previously held the lowest record.

Abarth Snowy Logo

According to Reid Bigland, U.S. Head of FCA Sales, "The overall industry is starting off slower due in part to weather, the U.S. government shutdown and concern over tax refunds. We still see a strong, stable economy and anticipate any lost winter sales will be made up in the spring."

We can only hope!

NoJeebS Bagged 500 Abarth

Fiat 500 USA Forum
The Fiat 500 USA Forum is filled with happy and friendly Fiat owners sharing their passion and enjoyment for their cars. The forum was started in 2010, and has become the most popular modern Fiat forum based in the US, and boasts over 300,000 interesting and informative posts and 20,000 members. Make sure you visit and join in the fun.

Some great threads to check out:

Besides the 500 and 500 Abarth, the forum extensively covers the 500e electric, the 500L MPV, the 500X Crossover and Fiat Spider. We also have sections on Alfa Romeo,  classic Fiats and host the Fiat Club America Forum.

Just some of the sub-forums:

Fiat Brand Sales in the United States, January thru February 2019
Fiat 500Current MonthLast YearVol ChangeCurrent YTDLast Year YTDVol Change













Sources: FCA US LLC.
Images: Blue Abarth image from NoJeebS Bagged 500 Abarth Build forum thread
other images: FCA and author