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First Look: 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo

Bumps power by 34%.

by on Aug.17, 2012

The Fiat 500 line-up expands yet again with the 2013 addition of the new Turbo model.

For those who want better performance – without the price tag of the top-line Abarth edition – Fiat is adding a new turbocharged version of its little 500 model.

The new addition to the maker’s fast-growing line-up is making its debut in Monterey, California, this weekend, at the Concorso Italiano, one of the largest gatherings of Italian vehicles in North America.

Fiat launched its return to the U.S. market in late 2010 but got off to a slow start with the original 500 coupe and cabriolet.  Sales began to take off earlier this year with the debut of the Fiat 500 Abarth, a high-performance version backed by a sexy ad campaign.  At this point, the maker has run out of Abarths until production of the 2013 model begins.

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The new 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo targets those who don’t want something quite so extreme.  It features a 135-horsepower version of the maker’s MultiAir four-cylinder engine, as well as sportier suspension tuning and what Fiat bills as “track-proven” brakes.  The interior is upgraded and there are modest exterior enhancements over the base 500, as well.


Can “Bad Boy” Charlie Sheen – and High-Performance Abarth Finally Sell Fiat?

“House Arrest” spot part of racy shift for Italian maker after disastrous debut.

by on Mar.05, 2012

Supermodel Catrinel Menghia poses with a Fiat 500 Abarth during the car's media drive in Las Vegas.

It may be small, but one thing the Fiat 500 has is a lot of attitude – all the more so since the Italian maker introduced the sporty new Abarth edition.  So perhaps it’s no surprise that what the marque’s global brand boss calls the “bad boy of the Fiat line-up” should turn to the bad boy of the entertainment world, Charlie Sheen, to draw some attention.

The spot, which was pulled at the last minute from the Super Bowl, gave Fiat officials some “sleepless nights,” a senior official admits, but after a delayed launch has been generating plenty of buzz from a brand that had barely registered on most consumers’ radar until recently.

Fiat got off to a nearly disastrous debut little more than a year ago, sales for all of 2011 coming in at barely half the initial forecast – leading Fiat to oust its U.S. marketing chief.

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Since then, the maker has ramped up its marketing efforts, first with a series of controversial Jennifer Lopez commercials, following up with supermodel Catrinel Menghia’s racy “Seduction” spot first aired during the Super Bowl.

Now comes Sheen, shown racing the Fiat 500 Abarth inside his mansion during a party – the “tiger blood” actor explaining how much fun he is having while under “house arrest.”


Marty’s Marketing Minutia: Carvertising Heats Up

The Case of the Missing Fiat Ad.

by on Jan.20, 2012

Coulda sworn we saw it...Fiat's Golden Globe ad came and went.

Fiat’s Vanishing Act

For those not celebrity obsessed, the NBC network broadcast of the Golden Globes award show this past Sunday went largely unnoticed. But it was the darling of the twittering masses.  According to published report the TPS – that’s Twitters Per Second — averaged 6,162 Tweets per second. Per second. Amazing. On the standard media value scale there were 16.8 million viewers of the award show for a 5.0 audience rating, which was down 0.2 million from last year’s epic broadcast. All to view Ricky Gervais’ regurgitation of semi-skewering comments aimed at the A-list attendees in tuxes and gowns — and the home viewers.

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While that was pretty much what one might have expected of the Golden Globes –second only to the Oscars in terms of Hollywood’s seasonal self-congratulations – the show did deliver one big surprise: a new Fiat 500 commercial.