New Fiat 500 just keeps winning prizes
The new Fiat 500, due to launch in Australia in March next year, is getting the seal of approval from customers and auto competition judges alike. Here is a quick rundown of what the 500 has won so far…
Auto Europa 2008
The Fiat 500 has been voted winner of “Auto Europa 2008”, the most important motoring accolade awarded by the Italian media, and it’s the second major award collected by the 500 in a week.
Established in 1987 and organized by the Italian Union of Automotive Journalists (Uiga), the prize is awarded to the car built and sold in Europe that offers the best combination of technology, pricing and style for the final consumer. The vote attributed 640 points to the new super-compact from Fiat, placing it ahead of the Kia Ceèd (408) and the Peugeot 308 (325). The official prize-giving ceremony will be held next Spring during the annual Uiga meeting. This is the tenth car from Fiat Group Automobiles to receive the title of “Auto Europa”. Previous winners have been the Alfa 164 (1988), Fiat Tipo (1989), Fiat Cinquecento (1993), Fiat Punto (1995), Fiat Bravo/Brava (1996), Alfa Romeo 156 (1998), Alfa Romeo 166 (1999), Fiat Panda (2004) and the Fiat Grande Punto (2007).
This award adds to the already impressive array of prizes under the Fiat 500’s belt, namely: “Car of the Year 2008” (see below), “EuroCarBody 2007” and “World’s Most Beautiful Car”. The title of “EuroCarBody 2007”, the most important prize worldwide for car bodies, is attributed by a total of approximately 600 specialists from 15 international carmakers, all of them experts in bodywork engineering, materials, processes and production. Lastly, the “World’s most Beautiful Car” award was given to the Fiat 500 by an international panel of design and visual arts experts. With the maximum score possible of 18 points, the Fiat 500 won the “City cars and small cars” category for expressing “a return to the sculptural values of the golden age of car design”. The same prize was also awarded to the Fiat Bravo, in the “medium saloon” category.
These accolades for the Fiat 500 join two other prizes recently awarded by the international press to the Fiat Punto and Scudo. Just a few months after its Latin American launch, the Punto was voted “Auto Interamericana 2008” by the Interamerican Federation of Automotive Periodicals (FIPA), consisting of 63 journalists from 19 American nations, including Brazil and the US. Similarly, the Scudo has also been enjoying an extraordinary success, and has been voted “International Van of the Year 2008” – with 108 out of a possible 140 points – by a panel of journalists from 20 European nations specialised in light commercial vehicles.
Car of the Year 2008
The “Car of the Year” award started up in 1964. To enter the competition, new cars must have been sold in at least five different European markets in the course of the year. Judgments are also expressed on the following parameters: design, comfort, safety, economic operation, driveability, performance, practicality, respect for the environment and, finally, price and value for money. A first selection is made from all the new models marketed in the course of the year (in the present edition 33 cars participated) and seven finalists are admitted to the election of the winner. Each member of the jury has 25 points that he can distribute among the 7 cars with a maximum of 10 points going to his first choice.
The award ceremony for the “Car of The Year 2008”, which this time round is being organised by the German magazine “Stern”, will take place in Berlin on 28 January 2008.
The COTY award was secured with a total of 385 points attributed by a panel of 58 specialist journalists representing 22 European countries. This is only the second time that an A-segment model has won this award – the first being the Fiat Panda in 2004. The title of “EuroCarBody 2007”, the most important prize worldwide for car bodies, is attributed by a total of approximately 600 specialists from 15 international carmakers, all of them experts in bodywork engineering, materials, processes and production. Lastly, the “World’s most Beautiful Car” award was given to the Fiat 500 by an international panel of design and visual arts experts. With the maximum score possible of 18 points, the Fiat 500 won the “City cars and small cars” category for expressing “a return to the sculptural values of the golden age of car design”. The same prize was also awarded to the Fiat Bravo, in the “medium saloon” category.
Full Order Book
Launched on 4 July last, the new Fiat 500 saw more than 7,000 people from 63 countries (more than 1,000 journalists were accredited) descend on Turin for its début: institutional authorities, financial analysts, businessmen and people from the worlds of entertainment, fashion and sport. More than 105,000 orders were taken in 4 months in just two countries (Italy and France); while marketing is proceeding apace in the rest of Europe (for example 6,300 orders have already been booked in Germany where the car went on the market just a few weeks ago). As of today, in Europe, the Fiat 500 stands second in segment A with a share of 14.1% (behind only the Fiat Panda with almost 17,000 registrations and a share of 21.2%).
The Fiat 500 is a product of “new Fiat”, a model that the company sees as the physical demonstration of the company’s new approach, the renewed strategies of the brand and a different way of interpreting the car. That is why the Fiat 500 has introduced a number of novelties and marked up some important records in its segment. For example, this is the first time that a car barely 3.55 metres long has been awarded 5 stars by EuroNCAP, and this is the first time that a car in this segment has fitted 7 airbags as standard (it is also the only compact to fit a knee-bag), with the advanced ESP available on all engines (standard on the 1.4 16v 100 bhp).
In addition, this is the first time that a model is presented with the whole range of power units (1.2 69 bhp, 1.3 Multijet 75 bhp with DPF and 1.4 16v 100 bhp), built to respect the emissions limits set by Euro 5, and all this more than two years in advance of the legislative deadline.
It’s also the first time that a “small” car like the Fiat 500 has been able to boast such a broad range which is made possible by choosing from: 4 trim levels, 3 engines, 12 colours (among these the 6 vintage colours that hark back to the ‘50s and ‘60s and the three-layer white which is the result of a paint process that hitherto has only been adopted on super cars), 15 interiors including the prestigious Cordura and Frau Leather, 9 types of wheel, and 19 sticker models, for a total of more than 500,000 variations. In addition, 100 original accessories have been designed for the Fiat 500 – among which the most surprising are the electric aroma diffuser and the coloured shells for the keys – along with the most advanced infotelematic devices: for example a multifunctional portable navigator from the Blue&MeTM platform.
The new model will launch in March 2008 and Fiat dealers have already started taking orders for the car, with the first two months deliveries already sold out. Australia will see the 1.2l and 1.4l petrol versions alongside a 1.3 JTD turbo diesel and 500s will come with manual and Dualogic robotised gearboxes as already featured on the Punto model. The ‘Pop’ ‘Sport’ and ‘Lounge’ trims will be available and the 500 is expected to be priced from “mid-low 20s to the mid-upper 20s”.
© italiancar.com.au 26/11/07