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 |  Mar 22 2012, 3:15 PM

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Funny little Italian cars are finally coming into vogue, or so it seems after Fiat reported its best month of U.S. sales to date in February.

“I’m holding my breath, but to beat February would be a big, big win for us,” Fiat brand head Timothy Kuniskis told the Detroit Free Press.

With 3,227 units sold last month, it seems the company is on an upward trend. Still, it’s not terribly surprising because sub-compacts and compacts are out-pacing every other market segment for growth. Thanks in no small part to rising gas prices, the two sections are attracting new buyers to trade in larger vehicles in anticipation of fuel climbing beyond $4 per gallon in the near future.

While it’s undeniable that economic factors are playing a big part in boosting Fiat and other small car manufacturers, the company’s marketing strategy also deserves recognition.

Edgy ads like the Fist 500 Abarth Superbowl commerical and those that followed it are helping to bring the otherwise obscure name in front of consumers.

That obscurity is the direct result of Fiat’s 28-year hiatus from the American market. When the brand relaunched last March it had little marketing support and could have been written off as an unfortunate experiment by Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne.

Nevertheless, it seems like the company might have actually times its release wisely, leaving it in a position to sell sub-compact cars with Italian styling cues in a market where most of the competition sells sans-pizzazz.

Managing to replicate its February sales would be a big victory for the company, which is seeing growing interest in the hot-rod Abarth thanks to the aforementioned commercial and others like the recently-aired “House Arrest” spot featuring notorious badboy Charlie Sheen and a slew of sexy women.

Thankfully, it won’t take long to see how the company fares, at least in the short term. If current market trends are any indication of consumer preference there may be more Fiats in sight than you otherwise might have expected.

GALLERY: Fiat 500 Abarth

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[Source: Detroit Free Press]

 |  Mar 15 2012, 4:31 PM

Cocaine, beautiful women and tiger blood — these things can compel a man to insane acts, not the least of which is driving a Fiat 500 at speed through a house.

That’s one image Italian automaker, Fiat, is hoping to portray (fun and youth not drugs and depravity), but the Charlie Sheen “House Arrest” commercial is one of two ads that will air for the first time tonight. The second, called “Baby” is a little more subtle in its appeal.

The spot features two men driving to a show with, as you may guess, a baby in the back of the car. The two men are discussing the seats, you see the driver working the manual transmission and then they find themselves stuck behind an old man in a generic Italian mafia car driving very slowly.

The Fiat pulls out to pass while the old man shoots a dirty look their way, inadvertently catching the baby’s gaze. In that moment, the child utters the same Italian phrase we heard supermodel Catrinel Menghia repeat during the Abarth superbowl ad, which means “what are you looking at?”

The old man looks shocked as the two men and baby pull away. We can’t say when the ad will air, just that it’s set for both local broadcast and network TV. That said, the ads probably won’t air during an episode of Grey’s Anatomy given their male-oriented nature.

Watch both the new “Baby” ad and “House Arrest” below.

Continue Reading…

 |  Mar 01 2012, 11:43 AM

The marketing department has certainly switched gears over at Fiat. From the female-targeted J-Lo ads for the cutsie 500 to the sultry Fiat 500 Abarth spot featuring lingerie model Catrinel Menghia.

Another step in that direction, the Fiat 500 Abarth is back in a new commercial titled “House Arrest” featuring legendary bad boy Charlie Sheen. And don’t worry, Menghia makes a cameo too.

Watch the video below:

Continue Reading…

 |  Apr 04 2011, 10:11 PM

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Not all Ferraris can be bought as an investment. Exhibit one: the 550 Maranello. Costing over $200,000 when new, this 1997 model year car is currently listed at $79,500 on eBay – and it’s hardly your run-of-the-mill F-Car.

No, this Ferrari was owned by none other than the man of the hour, Charlie Sheen. It’s no longer in his possession, however, with the current owner claiming the 485-hp Italian exotic was sold by Sheen to pay for his wedding to Denise Richards.

Along with the original equipment, the owner claims the car comes with a $12,500 wheel and tire upgrade and even comes with matching luggage. With a ‘buy it now’ price of $79,500 the current bid is just under $55,000.

Painted in a titanium silver, it comes with a red leather interior and has 25,725 miles on the odometer. But there’s more. If your opinion of Sheen has sunk somewhat as of late, we have a little bit of news that might help him earn back just a little respect. The car is a six-speed manual.

Interested? Place your bid here.

GALLERY: Charlie Sheen’s Ferrari 550 Maranello

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 |  Mar 16 2011, 2:34 PM

Charlie Sheen’s “trailer”, which was actually a converted coach bus, was towed off of the Warner Bros lot recently, after executives decreed it could no longer stay beside the Two and a Half Men sound stage where it had previously lived.

While Sheen’s bus was previously described as a “total hang-out pad,” where the actor would go when on a break from shooting the sitcom, we can definitely say that having your trailer removed from the set of your hit show does not qualify as “winning”. Sheen eventually sent for a mechanic so that the bus could be driven rather than towed out of the lot.

[Source: Entertainment Weekly]

 |  Feb 24 2011, 10:24 AM

Forget cocaine, Charlie Sheen has found a way to part with his money ever faster – with fast cars. And not for himself either.

In the past month the ‘Two and a Half Men’ star has spent a grand total of $780,000 on four high-priced machines for the many women in his life.

The most expensive of the bunch is a brand new Bentley convertible, which he purchased for adult film star Kacey Jordan. And because he’s Charlie Sheen and simply having one adult film star in his life isn’t enough, he reportedly also bought a $150,000 Porsche 911 Turbo for a second unnamed adult film star.

Sheen then bought two new Mercedes models, an S63 and a CL600, both priced at around $160,000; the first for his girlfriend, the second for his soon-t0-be ex-wife Brooke Mueller.

Now you know why women love Charlie Sheen.

[Source: MSNBC and RadarOnline]