Publshed on Tursday March 01, 2012
If Jennifer Lopez singing, shaking and driving her way through the Bronx in a cute Fiat 500 was too girly, the marketing gurus at Chrysler have come up with a fix: Charlie Sheen.
A commercial for the Fiat Abarth -- the "bad boy" version of the Italian brand, more powerful and less precious than the 500 model -- breaks tonight on network TV. The spot, called "House Arrest," features the charming but somewhat erratic Mr. Sheen racing a black Abarth inside a luxurious mansion. When he screeches to a stop in the lobby, he emerges -- wearing an ankle monitor -- and embraces a sexy young woman. "I love being under house arrest," he says. "What do I get for good behavior?"
The text superimposed on the screen reads: "Not all bad boys are created equal."
Careful watchers of Fiat's marketing campaign will note that the woman, the cappuchino-foam-dripping Catrinel Menghia, last strutted her stuff in the first ad for the Abarth, called "Seduction," created by The Richards Group. The ad ran online in November and was later booked for last month's Super Bowl.
"The Fiat 500 Abarth is the 'small but wicked' personality of the Fiat 500 and this spot captures that attitude and spirit," said Olivier Francois, had of Fiat Brand worldwide and chief marketing officer, Chrysler Group, responding to questions from Ad Age. "Our campaign with Ms. Lopez was very successful and helped to increase the awareness of the brand. Clearly Abarth, at the opposite of the spectrum, gave us a chance to complete the J. Lo campaign with a different kind of messaging."
Mr. Francois said the spots were created by two of Chrysler's agencies, Doner and Richards Group. Automotive News said "House Arrest" had initially been slated for the Super Bowl. The company said today that "House Arrest" had been a Super Bowl contender, but the spot wasn't ready in time for the game.
Tim Kuniskis, who was appointed last year to succeed Fiat Brand Manager Laura Soave in the U.S. market, said the "Seduction" spot was originally not intended for TV. "It was born for the Abarth reveal at the L.A. Auto Show," he said. "We streamed the video live, it grew organically and achieved 1 million hits in less than a week. With all of the positive feedback that we received not only from consumers and dealers, 'Seduction' was the perfect choice for Super Bowl to generate brand awareness." It has received almost 8 million hits in YouTube.
Mr. Kuniskis said Fiat "will also have new commercials in the pipeline that will begin running in the next few weeks for the Fiat 500," and that the company plans to "continue with the advertising strategy that we have set in place for 2012 which includes advertising for both the Fiat 500 and the Fiat 500 Abarth."
Besides the J. Lo fiasco -- which Mr. Francois conceded earlier this year was a miscue -- Fiat has been troubled by a delayed dealer rollout in the States and by a lack of new products. Mr. Francois said that dealers "were looking for us to build a plan that supported their local-markets efforts in terms of marketing and advertising to accelerate awareness. And this is exactly what we are doing."
Unit sales of the Fiat 500 were up 69% to 3,227 units in February
compared with the previous month, the company said. The sporty Abarth
goes on sale later this year at a base price of $22,000.
News Source February 29,2012
Published on Wednesday February 15, 2012
After three decades away from the American market, Fiat is back in a big way with a really small car. The Fiat 500 Abarth 695 Competizione made its North American debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show last year, replete with a scorpion logo and $23,000 price tag. The small car comes hot on the heels of the base Fiat 500 models in an attempt to debunk the car's cutesy image.
For those unfamiliar with the Abarth name, the Italian tuning brand is deeply rooted in racing heritage and performance pedigree. Karl Abarth?a racing legend?is best known among aftermarket aficionados for transforming small, lightweight cars into powerful, track-tuned machines. Suffice it to say that Abarth's engineering prowess is evident in this particular Fiat 500 model.
The Italian tuning house was able to massage 160 hp and 170 ft lbs of torque out of the Fiat with a 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine?nearly double the power ratings of the base model. While its expected zero-to-60 mph time of seven seconds does not sound impressive on paper, it is certainly enough to embarrass any Smart car that crosses its path.
Apart from its signature scorpion logo, passersby will be able to differentiate this special model Fiat 500 at first glance by its blacked-out grille, red brake calipers, and rear spoiler. Moving to the interior, the driver will notice an Abarth-themed steering wheel wrapped in perforated black leather and bolstered seats befitting of a true sportscar.Simply put, this Fiat 500 Abarth 695 Competizione is proof that great things can come in the smallest of packages.
Published on Tuesday December 27, 2011
It was born over 50 years ago sporting a two- cylinder, 480cc engine. The new versions range from a 135hp Arbath specs to a diesel that can cover 100km with just 4.2 litres.
The car's latest stylish version to hit the roads here is the 500 by Gucci. The colourful moving fashion statement has won 12 orders at $150,900 each.
It made its South-east Asian debut yesterday evening at the Paragon atrium before a few hundred appreciative invited guests.
The vehicle is a Fiat-Gucci joint project. It marks the 90th anniversary of the Gucci brand and 150 years of Italian unification.
Finished in glossy black or white pearl glass paint, it shines like a gem. There is also a convertible version with a sliding electric top.
Sporting 195/45 tyres on 16-inch rims, Gucci's signature green-red-green stripe runs completely around the perimeter.
The stripe also appears inside on the seats, the key-cover, the carpets and the seat belts.
Gucci creative director Frida Giannini said: 'In the 50s, the Fiat 500 created a style revolution when it first hit the road. It quickly became the must-have car of its time. Travelling in style has also been at the heart of Gucci ever since Guccio Gucci founded his company as a producer of leather trunks, suitcases and handbags in 1921.'
Completing the customisation is an exclusive range of 500 pieces of
fashion wear by Gucci. These include travel accessories, small leather
goods, drivers' tracksuits, bombers, gloves, sunglasses and a watch
News Source [Business Times]
This Abarth 500 has a turbocharged
1.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces a maximum 160 horsepower
compared to the 101 horsepower one available for the Fiat 500. It will
also be equipped with a heavy-duty five-speed transmission.
Fiat's been promising a Fiat 500 Abarth for those of us who don't own capri pants, but we've wondered if it would be the wimpy 135-hp lame one or the Bunga Bunga 160-hp version. Wonder no more. This new econobox is as wicked as Berlusconi.
The name "Abarth" means almost nothing to North Americans not well-versed in Italian ways, but to the most of the world its a reminder of a time when a guy named Karl Abarth attempted to make performance cars out of Fiats. The legacy continues in this latest U.S. version of the Cinquecento.
Fiat's taken the 1.4-liter MultiAir engine, swapped in a turbocharger with two small intercoolers, and boosted power to an impressive 160 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque at 2,500 RPM. That's a nearly 60% improvement in power over the base Fiat 500 with what Chrysler promises is a 70% increase in engine RPM torque.
Aesthetically, the gigantic Abarth scorpion logo pokes out like Superman's chest to let you know this isn't J. Lo's Fiat 500 . A more pronounced front fascia blends into flared wheel arches and an aggressive look that finishes in a spoiler mounted above the liftgate.
News Source [CNN Money]
Just 250 units of the Fiat 500 Pink Ribbon will be built. The vehicle is priced at $22,500, including a $500 destination charge. Fiat will donate $1,000 per purchase to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The Pink Ribbon edition will go on sale in October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The Pink Ribbon edition is an appearance package that comes in either silver or white exterior paint accented by a dark pink body-side stripe with the 500 logo and a ribbon in light pink. The cabin gets leather seats with pink stitching and a pink ribbon embroidered on the floor mats.
Laura Soave, the head of Fiat North America, said the special model is designed to "drive change."
The National Cancer Institute predicts that 39,520 women and 450 men
will die of breast cancer in the U.S. in 2011. The NCI says that 12.2
percent of women born today will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some
time in their lives.
News Source [Inside Line ]
What do you want your family hatchback to be? Good value? Well equipped? Great looking? Economical? Versatile? In truth, Fiat's Bravo ticks many of these boxes, so why is it so overlooked by buyers and pundits alike?
Perhaps it's a badge snobbery thing. Either way, Fiat is attempting to breathe new life into the Bravo with the MyLife makeover previously introduced on the Panda and Punto.
Car buyers these days are a canny bunch, well attuned to the achievements and culture of various car companies. They bring with them a level of expectation which the manufacturers attempt to exceed.
Fiat buyers have come to expect a bit of personality, some occasional build flakiness and a fun drive but the Bravo has never quite conformed to the archetype. It's not up and in your face and it's built like a rock.
In making the Bravo more mainstream and a little more buttoned-down, had Fiat rather lost its spark? There weren't any obvious danger signs. With its practical considerations firmly grounded, the Bravo didn't make you suffer for choosing a sharp Italian suit. Trouble was, sales remained stubbornly earthbound, too.
The good news for potential customers is that slow sales usually lead to some kind of incentivisation programme and, in Fiat's case, it's called MyLife. There's nothing particularly original about this: a few styling and trim licks look all the more attractive when you can throw in a bundle of extra kit and keep the pricing keen. Applied to something of a 'sleeper' like the Bravo, the package seems all the more tempting.
None of the MyLife extras can disguise the fact that this isn't the sharpest handling car in its sector, but it's close enough to the class leaders for most potential buyers not to notice ? or indeed to care.
They'll probably be more bothered about the fact that the interior feels very well built. Bright finish plastics lift the cabin and the controls are easy to figure out without recourse to the manual. It all looks agreeably Italianate as well.
Fiat has really got the hang of the whole soft-touch dashboard moulding in recent years and the new Bravo's supple, textured finish wouldn't look out of place in an Audi.
Fiat is arguably being a little mean by restricting the MyLife spec to just the 1.6-litre Multijet diesel engine with 105bhp, though this strikes a good compromise between driveability, performance and economy, though all the engines come with Fiat's Start & Stop system.
Fiat's Dualdrive electrical steering assistance is fitted, which lightens the steering around town and at parking speeds by pressing a button on the dashboard. A bit more feel at higher driving speeds would be welcome however.
It's easy to forgive the Bravo any minor shortcomings when you walk round the car, taking in its beautifully integrated detailing and elegant proportions and the MyLife cosmetic tweaks serve only to enhance the good looks. They include a glossy black finish for the upper and lower grilles, B-pillars and fog light framings, plus new 16-inch two-tone wheels and chromed door handles and grille borders. It all looks very smart.
There are also two body colours available, Distinct Grey and Superb Red. Though this isn't the largest car in the class, there's a decent amount of luggage space in that curved rump.
Aside from the added value MyLife brings to the party, the big draw for family buyers is undoubtedly the amount of safety gear Fiat has packed into the new Bravo. Winner of a coveted five-star Euro NCAP crash safety rating, the Bravo score a very impressive total of 33 points on the NCAP scale.
The Bravo is the product of over 60 crash tests,
15,000 hours of computer simulations, 150 simulations with a crash sled
and more than 100 crash tests on components and subsystems.
News Source [ TheSussexReport]
Fiat and Gucci have joined forces to give the small 500 model an exclusivist touch and their collaboration has just taken a new step by developing the convertible version.
The Fiat 500C is painted in white for a more obvious contrast. However, the soft-top will remain black, with Gucci's longitudinal lines on it. Being a special edition of the 500, the small car couldn't miss a fresh new set of alloy wheels, 16-inch, painted white, with the Gucci logo in the center.
Customers who will choose the 500C will benefit from Frau bi-color leather seats, chromed finishes, new materials and the Gucci logo insertion in various elements of the interior, including the safety belts.
The Fiat 500C is equipped with an automatic climate system, seven airbags, a blue&me system, parking sensors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and an audio CD and MP3 system.
The small car made by the Gucci and Fiat will be presented in
"fashion cities" like Saint Tropez, Berlin, London, Rome, Milan, Geneva
and Barcelona and after this the 500C will be available for selling at a
starting price of 20.000 euros.
News Source [INAutoNews ]
Fiat is launching its first national ad campaign in the U.S. this month. The national and cable broadcast, print, digital and experiential effort, via Southfield, Mich.-based AOR Impatto and Santa Monica, Calif.-based digital agency 72andSunny, bows with a TV advertisement but includes a range of other elements with a focus on programs to get the car in front of potential buyers.
The campaign, with the tag line "Simply More," starts with vintage footage from 1957 of a Fiat 500 rolling into a drive-in movie. Elvis' 1957 hit, "Jailhouse Rock," plays as the setting morphs into a modern take on drive-in theater and the 2011 Fiat 500. Two additional feature-focused TV ads will follow the launch spot.
Laura Soave, Fiat's U.S. marketing chief, tells Marketing Daily that the campaign is meant to tout the brand's heritage in the U.S. "It is a reengineered icon and it has a history story," she says, adding that the effort is also tied through experiential programs to the return of the drive-in movie itself. "Urban drive-ins are popping up again all over America, so it's bringing back a cool old-school experience."
Indeed, Fiat will launch a series of "pop-up" drive-ins showing vintage films. But in keeping the theme, the movies will be original versions of films that have been remade. Soave says each event will have some 50 Fiat 500s on hand in which people can sit to watch the movies or take out for test drives.
The first drive-in will be in New York's Times Square on Aug. 19, with the Jumbotron serving as movie screen showing the original "Ocean's 11." The cars will be there but, because the square is now a pedestrian mall, there won't be test drives. After New York, the drive-in events will be in Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, and Washington, D.C., with smaller activations in secondary markets. "Ultimately, it is very important for the brand to have people touch and experience the car," says Soave.
The campaign also has print ads that will feature lines like "Form & Function meet. And begin a torrid affair"; "Bigger isn't better. It's just harder to park"; and "139.6 inches. Every one tells a story."
Soave says that, so far, buyers of the new car, which went on sale in March, have run the gamut. "We started selling the first vehicles in March, with the majority going to die-hard fans, many of them members of the U.S. Fiat fan clubs," she says, adding that 20% of sales of the re-envisioned 500 car have gone to people who had never heard of the brand.
"I have owners who are 16 year olds who have never driven a manual and learned in the dealership parking lot, and an 85-year-old pig farmer in northern Michigan, who wanted a fuel-efficient car to drive around town." She says buyers are about 70% male, and that the age skew is bi-modal. "It's not a bell curve," she says. "We have lots of buyers in their 30's and younger and buyers over 50."
Fiat is launching the campaign now, per Soave, because there is enough inventory in the pipeline and retail operations on the ground to justify it. The company now has 94 Fiat Studios (Fiat showroom environments for the brand at Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram dealerships) with a goal of reaching 130 studios by year end, the majority in major East/West coastal markets.
Soave says that while national advertising is important, opportunities for consumers to see and feel the vehicles will make the big difference in consideration. "To me, advertising is the necessary evil, since the quickest way to get awareness is traditional national print, TV, and out of home, but what really changes consumer mindset is when they get in it and experience it. We spent lots of time over the past year doing grass roots efforts around the country, and we are going to keep doing that."
News Source [MediaPost ]
The "Fiat Source" is free at iTunes and lets users study the Fiat 500 car from all angles and configurations with 360-degree images, video and specs. The app -- which is launching with a summer "issue" featuring profiles of a Detroit-based graffiti artist, a young professional photographer, an emerging graphic artist whose recent work included using a Fiat 500 as a canvas, and a member of the Austin, Texas, art collective Public School -- will remain live through Twitter feeds, artist blogs, and other social media connections.
It also has an interactive Fiat history timeline. Forthcoming issues will involve music entertainment, fashion, travel and art.
Josh Donnelly, who works in Fiat brand marketing, tells Marketing Daily that the goal was to create an app that wasn't a flash in the pan. "When we sat down with the creative team, my mission was to create an application that people want to open frequently," he says. "With lots of apps you open it once, have fun spinning the car around, you get what it's about, you close it and never have reason to open it again. The idea is to give our fan base -- the people interested in learning about Fiat -- a reason to want to open the application again and again."
According to Donnelly, the project was about three months in development from pre-production into post, with the brand idea as the fulcrum even for content about artists, travel, or whatever finds its way into its virtual pages in forthcoming issues. "It speaks to what Fiat is as a brand, not just as a product," he says. "[Fiat Source] lets you mold and shape the experience to be what you want it to be." He says about the assortment of artists appearing in the summer issue, "really also ties into the Fiat story, which is about appreciating well-defined craftsmanship and art."
Donnelly says that the onus isn't solely on Fiat to drum up buzz about the app, since the artists themselves are talking up the app through their own social networks. "What's really cool about leveraging these artists is we get to also interact with their communities," he says.
The artists are touting the project through their blogs and social networks, and Fiat will also distribute a video demo of the platform through its own channels, including Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.
"Within the app we want to draw them back to our Web site, to Facebook
and Twitter, which is content we are constantly updating, and we are
toying around with incorporating different blog feeds directly into the
app itself," says Donnelly.
To learn more take a look at this video.
News Source [MediaPost ]
Photo credit: motorauthority.com
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