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Fiat 500: In Demand

Motoring Channel Staff - 11/February/2008

Fiat 500
Fiat 500

Fiat 500
Priced from $22,990, the new Fiat 500 is
likely to be a sell-out success in Australia

Fiat 500
The original 1957 Fiat 500 had its engine in
the rear, but the modern car has a front engine

Fiat 500
The front-wheel drive Fiat is just
3.55 metres long and is powered
by a range of economical engines

Fiat 500
The Fiat 500's design is it's strongest selling point,
with a modern look that draws on Italian heritage

Fiat 500
The interior of the Fiat 500 is quirky, bucking
the trend of the modern-day conservative cabin

Melbourne, Australia — Fiat is expecting a huge sales boost in 2008 due to the launch of the Fiat 500 in Australia.

Priced from under $23,000, the new Fiat will be launched in Australia at the Melbourne International Motor Show and reports from the British Isles suggest that Fiat's new compact car, the 500, has already sold out.

Looking like becoming another iconic sell-out like the Mini Cooper - and boding well for future sales - the Fiat 500's initial 4,500 unit allocation for the UK has dried up in just two weeks. 

Pre-orders for the new Italian retro car (based on the original 1957 Fiat 500) have been huge right across Europe, and demand is so strong that many Fiat 500 models are now appearing on Ebay at hugely inflated prices - yet are still selling.

Fiat dealers in Europe and especially in the UK are struggling to get more models imported as demand has swiftly outpaced supply.

The Fiat 500 is proving to be the must-have retro car of 2008.

The new Fiat 500 measures just 355cm long - making it one of the smallest new cars in Australia when it launches here on February 27th at the Melbourne Motor Show - is expected to be a sell out here as well.

"Preparing for the arrival of the Fiat 500 in Australia is like being at the centre of whirlwind," says David Stone, the general manager of Fiat Cars in Australia. 

"We have been under siege from dealers and customers alike, wanting to place orders and to be the first to have a Fiat 500."

Priced from $22,290, the new Fiat 500 also undercuts the Mini by a significant margin.

"From the moment Fiat announced that the new 500 was going into production, Australians have wanted to put their names down to own the first cars," said Mr Stone. 

"That trickle of customers has now turned into a flood, which means we have already sold the first four months of the Australian allocation," said Mr Stone who explained that drivers interested in the new model should go to the Fiat website or their nearest dealer to register interest.

"With the 500 a sold-out success in Europe, we know that supplies will be limited and with the 500 offering a unique level of personalisation in the small car market sector," added Stone.

As well as showing off a retro design and being ultra-compact, the new Fiat 500 is also safe having been awarded with a five star EuroNCAP rating, the highest rating possible.

It has already taken out the 2008 European Car of the Year title and will be offered in three variant in Australia. The entry level models will be powered by a 1.2-litre petrol engine, the mid-level models are 1.3-litre turbo diesels, and the range-toppers will be the 1.4-litre petrol engine which tops out at a price of $29,990 with all the trimmings.

The engine outputs are as follows:

1.2 petrol: 51kW
1.3 diesel: 55kW
1.4 petrol: 74kW

Three 3-door vehicles come standard with 5- or 6-speed manual gearboxes while a 'Dualogic' sequential robotised 5-speed automatic transmission is offered for drivers who don't want to manually change gears. 

The Fiat 500 is fitted with seven airbags as standard equipment – two at the front, two curtain-bags, two sidebags and one to protect the knees – a record for this vehicle class.

Fiat explains that ABS brakes with EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution) are fitted to all versions, with the 1.4-litre versions adding a sophisticated ESP (Electronic Stability Program) and ASR (Anti Slip Regulation), plus a Hill Holder, to help the driver on hill starts and HBA (Hydraulic Brake Assistance) which steps in for emergency stops.

The entry level trim level is 'Pop', which starts at $22,990 and includes air-conditioning, a trip computer, front electric windows, remote central locking, front and rear head rests, height adjustable steering wheel, split-fold rear seat, ABS brakes and six speaker MP3 Audio system with steering wheel controls.

The 'Sport' model adds 15-inch alloy wheels, Blue&Me Telematics with USB connection, rear spoiler, leather steering wheel and gearknob, side skirts and red brake calipers. Over the Pop version, the 'Lounge' models gain 15-inch alloys, satin finish aluminium exterior mirrors, chrome trim pack, climate control air-con and a fixed glass sunroof.

The comprehensive options list includes leather trim, 16-inch alloy wheels, decal options, sunroof on 'Sport' and 'Pop' versions, luxury and chrome packs, as well as dealer-fit options that enable owners to further personalize their Fiat 500.

Australian prices for the new Fiat 500, which launches here in late Feb 2008, start at $22,990 and top out at $29,990.

There's also an extensive options list for Australian model Fiat 500s including a range of body decals (sticker) which range from around $450 to $600, plus the usual options which are as follows:

Options

Pop

Sport

Lounge

Leather Interior

$1,450

$1,450

$1,450

Sunroof , Fixed

NA

NA

std

Sunroof, Electric

$1,950

$1,950

TBC

Metallic Paint

$750

$750

$750

Pastel Paint

$750

$750

$750

Luxury Pack (Pop only)

$750

std

std

Chrome Pack (Pop only)

$350

-

std

15" Alloy Wheels (Pop only)

$750

std

std

16" Alloy Wheels

-

$950

$950

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