FIAT returns to America... But will they stay?
She was blue… Not how she felt, but how she looked, not a sad blue, but a deep beautiful Mediterranean kind of blue. She was Italian, so the fire of passion and the beauty was ever present. She was older than me. She offered me some of the most exciting experiences of my young life.
She was my first.
She was also my X.
My first car: my first FIAT. My first X1/9.
Imagine a car with the engine in the middle, fully independent suspension, low to the ground, racy looking with a removable targa roof so you never had water leaks in the rain and all the fun you could handle in the sun. The interior was leather and she was small enough to scoot through traffic. The X1/9 carried me to multiple colleges and through multiple girlfriends. The car was so great that the night I broke up with my girlfriend she took the car and left me her Mustang. Trust me, in two hours I had her back… not the girl, but the car.
So with my oldest son approaching driving age and FIAT returning to the United States, I put my money down. The 500 model had been a sensation in Europe and the Italian in my soul and the powerful memories of my youth made me want to be the first. And I was. I purchased the first FIAT in the State of Louisiana. In talking with the dealer he was surprised at his level of traffic in the store saying it was just middle-aged guys like me who had owned FIATs before.
My belief was that the entire launch of the 500 was botched. The only exposure I knew the car to have was through social media. The later commercials featured Jennifer Lopez. This was amazing to me as the dealer and I had long conversations about it not becoming a girls’ car. If it did, they would lose the sportiness the car possessed in Europe and lose all the potential future customers like my son.
It was interesting to read later that FIAT themselves agreed the launch was botched and that the brand brief to tag the 500 as a girls’ car was a mistake.
So are we now at a stage where we say, “FIX IT AGAIN TONY.” I hope not, it’s a great little car. It has issues, for example, if you want a sporting model and like to autocross. As of this writing, I have read that the Sports Car Club of America has yet to classify it for fear of a rollover risk. The way we’ve driven it, I don’t think that’s much of a concern. There’s an initial quality hiccup or two, but no more than any other.
But, FIAT needs work and it needs help in the advertising and marketing department if it’s going to survive.
We predominantly do casino and hospitality advertising but occasionally dabble in automotive as it’s one of my life’s passions so please take a look at the link below. We recognized early on the problems FIAT had and were the first ad agency in the country to work with a local dealer and promote the car on its price and its amazing warranty – long before corporate realized they had a problem.
Please email me; firstname.lastname@example.org
I would love to know what you think.
Here’s the spot - copy and paste the link into your browser. http://vimeo.com/35222429