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Fiat 500 elected "European Car of the Year"



21st November, 2007

Fiat 500 - European Car of the Year

The international jury presiding over the "Car of the Year" award, made up of 58 specialist journalists from 22 European countries, has elected the Fiat 500 “Car of the Year 2008” with 385 votes, ahead of the Mazda 2 (325 votes) and the Ford Mondeo (202).

In addition to winning the “Car of the Year 2008” award outright, the tiny Fiat distinguished itself by obtaining votes from most members of the jury: 57 out of 58 in fact included it in their short-list and as many as 33 made it top in their personal rankings.

This is the second time – the first was the Fiat Panda in 2004 – that an 'A' segment model has won this prestigious award. This extraordinary record brings total Fiat Group Automobiles wins to twelve: the Fiat 124 (1967), Fiat 128 (1970), Fiat 127 (1972), Lancia Delta (1980), Fiat Uno (1984), Fiat Tipo (1989), Fiat Punto (1995), Fiat Bravo/Brava (1996), Alfa 156 (1998), Alfa 147 (2001), Fiat Panda (2004) and, now, the Fiat 500 (2008).

<>Launched in Italy on 4th July last, the new Fiat 500 immediately aroused interest with its retro styling, which harps back to the original Fiat 500.

Critical acclaim was immediately borne out by customers flocking to the showrooms. More than 105,000 orders were taken in just 4 months and in just two countries (Italy and France; while marketing is proceeding apace in the rest of Europe (for example 6,300 orders have already been booked in Germany where the car went on the market just a few weeks ago). As of today, in Europe, the Fiat 500 stands second in the 'A' segment with a share of 14.1% (behind only the Fiat Panda with almost 17,000 registrations and a share of 21.2%).

The Fiat 500 is the manifesto of “new Fiat”, a model that is in all respects the physical demonstration of the company’s new approach, the renewed strategies of the brand, a different way of interpreting the car. That is why the Fiat 500 has introduced a number of novelties and marked up some important records in its segment. For example, this is the first time that a car barely 3.55 metres long has been awarded 5 stars by EuroNCAP, and this is the first time that a car in this segment has fitted 7 airbags as standard (it is also the only compact to fit a knee-bag), with the advanced ESP available on all engines (standard on the 1.4 16v 100 bhp).

In addition, this is the first time that a model is presented with the whole range of power units (1.2 69 bhp, 1.3 Multijet 75 bhp with DPF and 1.4 16v 100 bhp), built to respect the emissions limits set by Euro 5, and all this more than two years in advance of the legislative deadline.

And there is more.

This is the first time that a “small” car like the Fiat 500 has been able to boast such a broad range which is made possible by choosing from: 4 trim levels, 3 engines, 12 colours (among these the 6 vintage colours that hark back to the ‘50s and ‘60s and the three-layer white which is the result of a paint process that hitherto has only been adopted on super cars), 15 interiors including the prestigious Cordura and Frau Leather, 9 types of wheel, and 19 sticker models, for a total of more than 500,000 variations. In addition, 100 original accessories have been designed for the Fiat 500 – among which the most surprising are the electric aroma diffuser and the coloured shells for the keys – along with the most advanced infotelematic devices: for example a multifunctional portable navigator from the Blue&MeTM platform.

The “Car of the Year” award started up in 1964. To enter the competition, new cars must have been sold in at least five different European markets in the course of the year. Judgments are also expressed on the following parameters: design, comfort, safety, economic operation, driveability, performance, practicality, respect for the environment and, finally, price and value for money. A first selection is made from all the new models marketed in the course of the year (in the present edition 33 cars participated) and seven finalists are admitted to the election of the winner. Each member of the jury has 25 points that he/she can distribute among the 7 cars with a maximum of 10 points going to his/her first choice.

The award ceremony for the "Car of The Year 2008", which this time round is being organised by the German magazine “Stern”, will take place in Berlin on 28th January, 2008.

The new Fiat 500 will be released in Australia in March, 2008. Fiat has already sold a handful of the tiny new model, but at well above $20,000 the new 500 is priced way beyond the 'norm' for a tiny car.

Other Fiat content: here

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