Designed by Fiat Centro Stile and built at the company’s Tychy plant in Poland, the new Fiat 500 has a significance far greater than that of simple, nostalgic interpretation. While respecting the iconic original’s concept in shape, functional simplicity, reliability and economy, Fiat’s fundamental goal has not been to design a car that ‘looks like’ a 500 but, rather, one that ‘could be’ a 500 again.
Dante Giacosa’s outstandingly successful 500 – a masterpiece of industrial design of which exactly 3,893,294 examples were built between 1957 and 1975 – was launched on 4 July 1957 as a period of post-war regeneration was closing and radical renewal to the company’s product range was also coming to an end, presaging a cycle of successes in the coming decade which hallmark it as one of the brightest periods in the brand’s 108-year history.
Although parallels with the new Fiat 500 are obvious, the latter has been developed in close collusion with potential customers through a communications project known as ‘500 wants you’. Since it went on line in May 2006, the website, www.fiat500.com has been visited by over 3,700,000 users who, via the site’s Concept-Lab, submitted over 275,000 configurations, suggestions for accessories and means of personalising the new model.
As a result, Fiat Centro Stile developed the Personalisation programme in parallel with the 500 project, creating a comprehensive range of over 100 accessories which give owners a vast opportunity to personalise the new Fiat to levels unprecedented in this segment.Published 19 January 2008