Fiat has unveiled its new Fiat 500 at the Frankfurt Auto Show. For those of us who spent time in Europe in the 1980s, when there were still plenty of the originals around (Fiat produced the "Cinquecento" from 1957 to 1975), the new car is a shining example of well-packaged nostalgia. The new car evokes the old - and unlike other contemporary updates (the Mini, the New Beetle), it's still tiny, with a tiny motor (my motorcycle's engine is bigger).
There is apparently a real taste for retro-styled cars with pricey options. The company is building 120,000 a year and is afraid it won't meet demand. The car isn't even cheap - prices start at around 10,500 Euros.
Why so much success, given you could fit the car in the back of a North American SUV? It's not just the Italian love affair with the Cinquecenti. The car is the embodiment of great design. Fiat has said it wants the 500 to be the "iPod of cars": simple, clean, useful and fashionable. I wondered how long it would be before someone started building cars like iPods. In fact, I've wondered why Apple hasn't started building cars.
I took the image from iht.com