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Fiat is sending out its thanks to its 500,000 Facebook fans via a contest in which you can win a brand new Fiat 500.
Today, Mercedes-Benz produced its 500,000th W212 E-Class at its assembly plant in Sindelfingen, Germany.
It took the automaker three years to hit this production milestone on the latest generation of E-Class, first introduced in 2009 at the Geneva Motor Show. The 500,000th car is a white E350 4Matic and is destined for the U.S. market.
The E-Class has found success in the business world, but you may be surprised to know it’s also a popular taxi. The E-Class is one of the most popular taxi’s used worldwide.
With over 10 million units sold since its start, the E-Class has been a successful executive-class vehicle for the Mercedes-Benz brand. It marries comfort, performance and technology.
When it was introduced in 2009, the revised E-Class was actually available for $4,600 less than the previous model. Despite that, it was totally refreshed with a an exterior characterize by its new, sharp lines and in interior that took countless hours of engineering. The result, one of Merc’s best cars to date.
Among the new features, Mercedes customers could now enjoy Night View Assist Plus, which allowed drivers to see farther into the dark through the navigation screen among other safety features.
As the brand ushers its half-millionth E-Class it’s hard not to look ahead at the promised 2014 revision and anticipate much better it might be. While we already know there isn’t a drastic redesign like the 2009 model got, there’s still plenty to look forward to.
The Fiat brand has had a bumpy start in the U.S. market, but the Italian automaker hopes to change things around now that its dealer network has finally expanded.
Last year, Fiat 500 sales only hit 19,769 cars, way below its target goal of 50,000. But now with the Abarth 500 on the horizon, the recently revealed 500L wagon coming next spring, and the Fiat 500 EV coming next year, the Italian brand looks poised to become a formidable player in the compact car market.
Fiat U.S. brand chief, Tim Kuniskis, recently revealed that the American lineup may increase to three models. While Kuniskis wouldn’t detail what the third model is, he did say that styling will always be their emphasis and that “any car we sell has got to be different.”
So what could it be? Our guess is that Fiat will bring a crossover to America. It’s only a fitting addition to their existing subcompact coupe/convertible and incoming four-door wagon.
Fiat now has 142 dealers and hopes to reach 200 by the end of next year.
GALLERY: Fiat 500L
[Source: Detroit Free Press]
Luckily we’ve got the subbed version of the popular Fiat 500 Abarth advertisement, right here! This spot, which was proved to be one of the most successful ads seen during the superbowl, was first seen way back in November. That doesn’t really matter, as we can’t get enough of it!
Check out the translations in the video below.
Not too long ago, reports came in that Fiat is developing a 500 five-door wagon for the US market and now it appears that the Italian automaker will be reviving the 500L model name for the upcoming five-door 500.
The new five-door model gets an L added to its name for being large, and is scheduled to make its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March. Additional details on the model were also reported, stating that the 500L will sport a front end similar to the standard 500 model, but the vehicle will be wider and about 2.4-inches longer.
America will only be seeing a five-seater variant of the 500L, but it’s believed that the European market will also receive a seven-seater 500L. Fiat believes – and rightfully so – that American buyers wouldn’t have much interest in a seven-seater with such a small footprint.
Chances are the 500L in America will feature a 1.4L, four-cylinder engine with around 105-hp. The 500L badge originally came on Fiats produced from 1968-1972, but back then the L stood for Lusso, which is Italian for luxury. Now it’ll just be large.
[Source: Automotive News]
Look, we get it. Everyone wants to be a little optimistic when a new model hits the streets, especially when it’s one of Italy’s most iconic compact cars.
When Chrysler first introduced the Fiat 500 (read out review here) to the American market, they might have been a little too optimistic by estimating that they’d sell 50,000 of them in 2011. Turns out, even CEO Sergio Marchionne has no problems admitting that their initial sales target was “incredibly naive.”
Fiat’s original goal was to best the MINI Cooper 2010 sales figure of 45,644 but the 500 fell way short with just 19,769 being sold in 2011. Despite not even coming close to their original sales goal, Marchionne is adamant that Fiat will still do well in the US and admits that “we set ourselves up for a fall.”
A more realistic sales figure of 25,000 – 30,000 is anticipated for 2012 and that number could be aided by the introduction of the Fiat 500 Abarth.
Fiat has finally announced the pricing on their 500 Abarth model for the American market, starting at $22,000 and will include a segment-exclusive, full-day Abarth driving experience.
The 500 model that’s been “designed for track-day enthusiasts and driving purists who want the ultimate high-performance small car at an attainable price,” the 500 Abarth is powered by a 1.4L MultiAir Turbo engine with 160-hp and 170 lb-ft of torque. The rest of the vehicle has also been tweaked for a truly sporty driving experience, including Abarth-tuned suspension, brake systems, dual exhaust, turbo-boost gauge with integrated LED shift light and 16-inch wheels.
Fiat will throw in an Abarth Driving Experience for new owners, offering them the opportunity to attend a segment-exclusive driving experience at no additional charge. The Abarth Driving Experience features a full day of driving training with instructors from the Richard Petty Driving Experience in a safe and structured setting.
GALLERY: Fiat 500 Abarth
Italian coachbuilder Castagna Milano has their eyes set on the American market, and to lead their entrance is a stretched Fiat 500 limo in three different variants: LimoSun, LimoCity and LimoCity Presidential.
To be frank, we’re a little skeptical that the American market would even have a demand for a Fiat 500 limousine, considering that Fiat 500 sales as a whole are lacking, but hey, at least the option is there. In the conversion, the length of the vehicle goes from 11.5-feet to 17.45-feet while the wheelbase jumps from 7.55-feet to 13.45-feet. Height also goes from 4.89-feet to 5.18-feet in the CityLimo.
The LimoSun is based on the Fiat 500 convertible and features four seats facing one another in the passenger area. The large openings on the side and the roof can be closed with transparent panels.
The LimoCity on the other hand is a closed version packed with a circular sofa couch, mini-bar and electric sliding doors. Lastly, the LimoCity Presidential begins with a US-spec Fiat 500 and features a pair of electric motors that are capable of reaching 100-mph and a range of 155-miles.
GALLERY: Castagna Milano Stretched Fiat 500 Limo
It’s no surprise that the 500′s return to North America did not make the splash that Fiat expected. Having sold less than 20,000 vehicles in its first model year in the United States, the 500 only did half as well as the company initially forecasted.
The success of the 500 is essential to the Italian automaker’s re-entry into the North American market. In Europe, Fiat sold more than 770,000 units since the 500′s introduction in 2007. Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne admitted that the 500′s weak performance was in part due to overly-optimistic forecasting. “We thought we were going to show up and just because of the fact people like gelato and pasta, people will buy it.”
However, Fiat believes that creating variants for the 500 could help boost its popularity.
Set for unveiling at the 2012 Geneva Auto Show, Fiat hopes that a 5-door Fiat 500 wagon will find better success in the North American market. The official release date of the Fiat 500 wagon is slated for 2013, while a sportier Fiat Abarth hot hatch will be available for sale later this year.
Whether the 500 wagon will boost Fiat sales remains to be seen. While the wagon’s dimensions will be slightly larger and more suitable for American consumers, station wagons are historically unpopular in North America.
[Source: Car Connection]
Efficiency is the new black for automakers and consumers alike. Even Porsche customers can get their gas guzzling Cayenne fix in a more efficient hybrid now or diesel soon, which is why it might come as a surprise that two new fuel-efficient guppies in the veritable ocean that is the U.S. car market seem to be floundering.
The Fiat 500 and Chevrolet Volt are both reaching the end of their first fiscal year with disappointing numbers compared to their manufacturer’s forecasts. That outcome could be a bit of a puzzler, given that the 500 starts at $15,500, offers two more seats and, what some would say, stylish alternative to the Smart FourTwo for about $3000 more.
The same fate befell the Volt, which takes a practical approach to the burgeoning plug-in market. Rather than relying totally on a battery charge. Chevy’s iteration on the new trend borrows power from a teensy 1.4-liter gasoline engine and achieves a sky-scraping 94 mpg average with a starting price of just over $39,000 before tax incentives. Those incentives bring the car closer to $30,000, though other government subsidies for things like home charging stations disappear this year.
It doesn’t take a particularly good periscope to see above the water and realize why both these cars were slow sellers, consumers are often risk averse and both cars proved to be sketchy choices by year’s end.
The Volt will fall short of GM’s projected 10,000 unit forecast by at least 25 percent thanks in part to an NHTSA investigation surrounding spontaneous combustion of the lithium ion battery after severe crashes. The car was supposed to be Chevrolet’s poster boy for the future, but instead the crucial first year will be marred by shaky consumer confidence and questions about safety.
The Fiat 500 might have escaped that fate, given its quirky styling and heavy re-engineering for the North American palate, but poor sales proved otherwise.
It also suffered from a sales-scaring three out of five star safety rating by the NHTSA this month. Even without that damning verdict, the hatchback wouldn’t have met the projected 50,000 sales figure— as of November Chrysler’s parent company had managed to squeak out a dismal 17,444 units, with little promise of breaking the 20,000 mark by December 31.
[Source: Edmunds Inside Line]
Chrysler has issued a recall on Dodge Journey and Fiat 500 models produced between October 24th, 2011 and October 26th, 2011. Even though it’s such a narrow timeframe, 340 vehicles are impacted by the recall due to a faulty brake issue.
The vehicles produced in the Chrysler’s Toluca, Mexico plant may have been assembled with contaminated brake fluid, leading to possible degradation of the sealing components within the braking system. If the degradation does occur and the sealing components break down, a brake failure could occur resulting in a crash.
The recall notices will be sent out next month and Chrysler will replace all the brake components impacted by the contaminated fluid.
In celebrating the launch of Fiat’s 500 in America, Fiat has decided to release a special Nation Edition 500. The 500 Nation will be introduced at the upcoming Bologna Motor Show.
This special edition Fiat 500 is very patriotic, sporting a Stars & Stripes graphics package with 16-inch wheels. It will also come in an exclusive America Blue exterior shade (in hatchback form) while the convertible packs a tri-coat white.
Fiat plans to launch the Nation Edition in February with production limited to 500 units each and pricing set at $19,570 for the hatchback and $24,290 for the convertible based on today’s conversion rates.
GALLERY: Fiat 500 Nation Edition
Europeans won’t be the only ones having all the fun with the Fiat 500 Abarth anymore. North American showrooms will be gaining the turbocharged 160-hp 1.4L MultiAir engine model packed full with an Abarth-tuned suspension, brake system, race-inspired design and technology features not normally seen on compact cars. Full power comes on at 5500 rpm, while max torque is rated at 170 lb-ft at 2500 rpm.
Improving aerodynamics and giving the Fiat 500 a more aggressive appearance, Abarth has outfitted the North American model with functional exterior changes compared to the run-of-the-mill Fiat 500 counterpart. The front bumper has been modified to ensure maximum airflow for the intercoolers while the Abarth-designed 16-inch wheels gives it a much sportier appearance. Those looking for even more can opt for 17-inch rollers to cover up their performance brake system highlighted by bright red calipers. In the rear, a large liftgate-mounted spoiler can be seen, extending the roofline and improving the aerodynamics with additional downforce.
Unique to the Fiat 500 Abarth’s interior is the addition of a turbo-boost gauge with integrated LED shift light in the center. Tech-lovers can opt for the TomTom navigation with BLUE&ME hands-free all bundled into a 4.3-inch touchscreen display. Accenting the interior is an Abarth-designed aluminum pedal covers that feature nero rubber trim along with a nero leather shift knob with rosso accent stitching. The performance seats are a one-piece design with racing harness pass-throughs and accent stitching throughout.
In terms of suspension modifications, the Abarth model features 40-percent stiffer spring rates and a 0.6-inch lower height than the standard Fiat 500 model. Koni’s dual-valve frequency selective damping shocks allow for plenty of adjustability for improved comfort and smoothness as well as driving performance. Braking upgrades from Abarth include larger 11.1-inch rotors in the front (compared to the standard 10.1-inch on the Fiat 500) paired with a single-piston brake caliper. The rears feature 9.4-inch discs also with a single-piston brake caliper.
No pricing was announced on the Fiat 500 Abarth yet.
GALLERY: 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth
Discuss this story at Fiat500Owners.com
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has named the 2012 Fiat 500 a Top Safety Pick, joining eight Chrysler Group models that are Top Safety Picks by the IIHS for 2011.
Top Safety Picks are recognized by the IIHS as vehicles with “good” performance in front, side, rollover and rear crash test evaluations done at their Vehicle Research Center. In order to qualify as a Top Safety Pick, the vehicle must also be equipped with electronic stability control, which is a standard feature on all Fiat 500 models.