- Alfa Romeo
- Aston Martin
- Land Rover
As another calendar year draws to a close it’s time to take a look back at the top 10 biggest stories of the year in the auto industry. It’s been a busy 12 months, starting all the way back in March when the Fiat 500 officially went on sale, marking the return of the brand to America. The last time an Italian car was sold here that didn’t cost six figures (or close to it) was 27 years ago. Since then, Fiat has introduced the 500C convertible model and most recently the Fiat 500 Abarth, aimed at enthusiasts.
Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat– Chrysler, is looking forward to 2013 for being a big year for the Italian-American brand. Marchionne is looking ahead to a collection of new Chrysler products, the reintroduction of Alfa Romeo back to America and have a chance to fully combine Fiat and Chrysler into one company.
After announcing that the new Dodge compact won’t be called a Hornet, speculation began on what it will be named when it’s released. Even though it’s set to unveil at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show in January, Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne still isn’t hinting at what the new Dodge compact will be called, nor has he said what the 2013 replacement for the outgoing Jeep Liberty will be.
Was J.Lo’s performance at the American Music Awards a creative song and dance routine or a commercial for Fiat 500? Either way, it has got people talking… especially when it comes to how much Jennifer Lopez got paid to dance alongside the compact car.
It’s being reported that J.Lo received about $1 million for that dance number – kind of makes you wish you stuck with your tap dancing lessons, doesn’t it?
This isn’t the first time Jennifer and the Fiat 500 have gotten together. The pair has starred together in a series of commercials in this fully integrated marketing campaign. Not only is the Fiat 500 out in full force, the campaign also coincides with launch of the superstar’s new products.
Do you think that Fiat and J.Lo are selling out or is this just the next generation of commercialism and we should just get used to it? Leave your thoughts in the comments sections below. And you can watch Jen and Fiat get down with their bad selves on the dance floor after the jump.
Video after the jump
Sergio Marchionne, head of Fiat, told reports that he expects combined sales of Fiat and Chrysler vehicles to hit 6 million units by 2014. Marchionne’s remarks come even in the face of declining auto sales in Europe, as well as an overall shaky economic climate.
With Italy as one of its main markets, it’s no surprise that the Fiat Group would bring a huge collection of new and special edition models to the Bologna Motor Show. This year, the Fiat Group will headline the local auto show with a new 2012 Fiat Sedici model, a Fiat 500 Nation Limited Edition, a Fiat TwinAir 500, a Fiat 500C by Gucci, a Lancia Ypsilon Black&Red, an Abarth 595 turismo, 595 competizione, 695 Assetto Corse, and a Punto scorpione.
Rumors have been swirling for quite some time now that Laura Soave, arguably the person responsible for bringing Fiat back into the U.S. market, would be replaced as the head of the Fiat brand in North America. Well the news is official now, with a press release being sent out moments ago confirming Soave’s exit and Timothy Kuniskis taking her place.
Don’t live in LA, or you just can’t be bothered to face the crowds and finish off your day with sore feet? Then you’re in luck. AutoGuide has done all the footwork (and the talkie talkie, and the video editing), to bring you the highlights from the 2011 LA Auto Show. From the Subaru BRZ STI Concept, to the 650-hp Shelby GT500 watch our video series to get the rundown on the most exciting vehicles at this year’s show.
Watch all of AutoGuide’s 2011 LA Auto Show videos below:
The Fiat 500 was just an appetizer. This is the car Fiat fans have really been waiting for, the 500 Abarth. Built by the automaker’s in-house tuning division, the Abarth model gets a long list of upgrades, from a lower and stiffer suspension, to upgraded wheels and, most importantly, a turbocharged mated to the 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine to deliver 160-hp. Find out more on the Fiat 500 Abarth in the video below.
Fiat‘s ad spot featuring Jennifer Lopez might have been excellently targeted at the Italian automaker’s prospective female clientele, but it was jeered by the brand’s traditional male buyers – the ones who carried on the brand in America for decades, waiting for its return.
Debuting the new Fiat 500 Abarth performance model at the LA Auto Show yesterday, Fiat previewed an ad spot that will undoubtedly appeal to the male demographic. Our apologies to J-Lo, but this spot is sexy enough to make you feel uncomfortable in front of the kids. And the best part? It’s funny too.
Watch the video after the jump and check out all the details on the new Fiat 500 Abarth here:
Did he just say that? Yes, Fiat Brand boss Oliver Francois commented that the new Fiat 500 Abarth “arouses without the need for a prescription”. Spoken with a thick French accent at the vehicle’s launch today at the LA Auto Show, it sounds much more eloquent than “Viagra on wheels.”
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.
Dodge will unveil its new 2013 compact car during the January 2012 Detroit Auto Show. Since this is the first all-new car designed by the combined Chrysler and Fiat Company that will debut three months from now, we are used to expecting information to leak prior to the car’s official unveiling, whether from spies and insiders or scheduled leaks from the company itself.
Road Race Motorsports has revealed one serious little lapping day machine at the SEMA Show, with a highly customized Fiat 500 packing plenty of race-inspired modifications. Under the hood is a B-Spec tuned engine pumping out 133-hp thanks to a Road Race intake system and sport exhaust. To be a true race car though, they also outfitted it with a timing controller, Zeitronix Data logging system with Drew Tech touchscreen and Drew Tech’s GPS and Track mapping system.
Looking rather lonely and out of place in Mopar’s massive SEMA booth was Mopar Underground’s Fiat 500 Carbon. Amidst all the heavy American muscle was this customized Italian compact featuring an Anodized Azzurro exterior with blackened accents. Peering behind each 17×7-inch Dark Hyper Black wheel were bright red calipers, giving a solid contrast to the matte blue finish.
Tribe Agency will be unveiling their Fiat 500 Alpha Bravo project at this year’s SEMA Show at the Meguiar’s Car Crazy Corral. For now, we’re treated to a render of the project which looks to feature a custom wrap by Wraptivo/Meguiar’s sporting a two-tone black and army green finish. Up top is a custom Inno sports rack while the Fiat 500 gets a menacing stance thanks to Air Lift. On all four corners are 6015-T6 forged wheels paired with Falken rubber.
Fiat has announced that it will be showcasing a pair of custom 500s at this year’s SEMA Show. According to Fiat the 500 Titanium is a discretely tuned 500 with more aggressive styling while the Fiat 500 Carbon features more subtle modifications, accenting the Italian hatchback’s styling, craftsmanship and nimble handling. Both vehicles get upgraded products from Mopar including their respective cold-air intake, strut-tower brace and cat-back exhaust.
Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne is making Alfa Romeo’s U.S. re-launch a top priority, calling it “the most difficult thing I have to do”. Alfa Romeo last sold cars in the U.S. in 1995, but the brand still has a strong image in the U.S., spurring Marchionne to focus efforts on North America.
The Sports Car Club of America’s B-Spec class is meant to give automakers and racers alike a relatively affordable platform to go racing with machines similar to those available from the factory. While safety and chassis modifications are allowed, engine power is restricted to keep the playing field even.
Romeo Ferraris is clearly looking to offer a street-legal version of their widebody race Abarth 500, and now the Italian tuning firm has released some photos of their Abarth 500 Stradale. Not many details were packaged with the photos, but Romeo Ferraris was quick to announce the 1.4L turbo engine will pack 300-hp.
The SEMA Show (Specialty Equipment Market Association) provides the unique opportunity to let suppliers and aftermarket tuners showcase their new products and innovations. This year, Brandmotion, an award winning supplier of OEM-grade custom products, earned the opportunity to work with FIAT to customize a 2012 FIAT 500.
The annual North American Car and Truck of the Year awards has just released its short list for 2012, selecting 17 cars and seven trucks that will compete for the prestigious prize.
In the running for the 2012 North American Car of the Year are three from Hyundai (the Accent, Elantra and Veloster), two from Audi (A6 and A7), two from Volkswagen (Passat and Beetle) and two from Toyota ( Camry and Prius v). Others on the list include two GM models, the Buick Verano and Chevrolet Sonic, while two Chrysler group nominees include the Chrysler 300 and Fiat 500. Rounding out the list is the Ford Focus, Kia Rio, Scion iQ and Subaru Impreza. Notably absent from the list is the all-new Honda Civic.
The 2012 North American Truck of the Year short list includes just one vehicle from seven different automakers: the BMW X3, Honda CR-V, Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Mercedes M-Class, MINI Countryman, Nissan Quest and Saab 9-4X.
The three finalists in each category will be announced later this year with the winners being announced at the Detroit Auto Show in January. Last year the Chevrolet Volt took home 2011 Car of the Year, with the Ford Explorer as 2011 Truck of the Year.
See the full list of nominees after the jump:
Sales targets for the Fiat 500 were set at an ambitious 6,000 units per month, and surprise surprise, the car isn’t meeting them. This might be due to the fact that it’s a subcompact, foreign branded car in a market where gasoline is (relatively) cheap and large vehicles reign supreme. Or it could be the fault of your marketing agency, if you ask Chrysler.
It’s that time of the year again as Car of the Year begins the laborious task of whittling down new Car of the Year contenders for 2012.
A total of 59 journalists, representing automotive authorities across 23 European countries, have been recruited for the task of choosing top car. The number of journalists to represent each country is based on the relative size of the said country’s car market. Countries like Spain, Germany, Italy, and Great Britain have a well established market, and each will be represented by six journalists.
As for cars, only completely redesigned new models that have launched within the twelve months before the contest are counted. Each car must be available in at least five European countries and must have an expected sales volume no less than 5,000.
Categories considered include design, safety, performance, and price. This year, says the judging committee, technical innovation and value will be especially influential. What also makes Car of the Year unique is the absence of separate genres for its candidates. Rather than selecting the best of the compacts or the best trucks, vehicles with all sorts of engine size and body types will be vying for the same allotment of points.
Comparison testing of the vehicles will be performed in Sweden.
The following 35 candidates selected for the 2012 Car of the Year award include:
After a two year alliance between Volkswagen and Suzuki, relations and communication quickly deteriorated earlier this September after Suzuki had gone to Fiat to supply their engines. Volkswagen, upset at the deal, very publically claimed it was a serious breach of Suzuki’s contract.
The Fiat/ Chrysler marketing masterminds are at it again. A follow-up to the wildly popular Chrysler 200 commercial featuring Eminem in Detroit and the signature beat from his “8 Mile” soundtrack, the automaker has now recruited the beautiful Jennifer Lopez to endorse its adorable 2012 Fiat 500C.
The combination is so irresistible, in fact, that the ad shows an entire town lose their self control, scrambling after the stars like a mob of zombies. Thanks to the light and little Cinquecento, J.Lo manages to nimbly swerve around the fanatics, while showing off the 500’s capable chassis and her superior driving skills. Inevitably, our star gets swarmed and lifted from the Fiat and Bollywood dancing spontaneously commences.
Fiat and J.Lo will be introducing a series of ads scheduled to air in the coming months. Enjoy the video!
Abarth showed off its 695 Competizione at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show and the Fiat 500-based Competizione is track ready packing over 180-hp with a roll cage. Abarth began by stripping the rear seat from the 500 and in its place is the rear bracing for a roll bar. And while we find Abarth’s claim that the 695 Competizione is a street-legal race car a bit of a stretch, we have to admit the extra performance and race-inspired interior does the Fiat good.
The Fiat and Chrysler product osmosis continues. Chrysler first revealed its plan for a Fiat collaborated small commercial van for the North American market back in November 2009. Finally, here it is. Tofas Turk Otomobil Fabrikasi, Fiat’s Turkish joint venture, announced that it will supply Ram with 190,000 units of the Fiat Doblo small panel van over the course of seven years.
The original Fiat 500 by Gucci was an overwhelming success, quickly garnering over 3,000 pre-orders, pushing the two Italian companies to release a cabriolet version of their customized 500. The 500C by Gucci shares much of the same modifications its hardtop counterpart has, being offered at a little over $28,350. It’ll inherit the same color choices – white with matte chrome trim or black with glossy chrome accents – as the original coupe, and will also sport the same body color-matched 16-inch wheels.