Fiat 500 fever sweeps the world on the anniversary of its rebirth


As the globe celebrates the second birthday of one of the most iconic and arresting small cars money can buy, and an incarnation in metal of undiluted Italian style.

With the new Fiat Cinquecento (500) having already laid claim to a string of accolades since its introduction in 2008, including the coveted 2008 Car of the Year title, the time has come for the globe to celebrate the birthday of this iconic vehicle with one voice.

“Flash-mob” video performances have been submitted from each of the 19 countries participating in this international birthday party including a clip from the wintry landscape of Delta Park, Johannesburg, showing South Africa adding our unique cultural voice to the global revelry.

The video was shot and uploaded to YouTube within six hours of the actual date of birth, the 4th of July, dawning, and has now joined the tumultuous chorus of appreciative, festive aficionados of this iconic city car which has raised roofs in cities from every corner of the Atlas.

In Italy, the heart of the 500 legend and the vibrant automotive manufacturing community which brought both the original and latest interpretations of this emotionally-charged vehicle to life, birthday celebrations have been in full swing from the 4th to the 7th of July. The 500 and the latest, exciting variant on this theme the open-topped 500C have enjoyed starring roles in high-profile gatherings arranged in the top style centres of this acutely fashion-conscious nation.

In support of these glamorous events, Italy’s premier television network Rai played host to a unique initiative which saw an impressive collection of videos old and new as well as some inspirational sketches dedicated to this car, considered to be one of the most enduring incarnations of Italian style across the world.

These broadcasts culminated in a special, stirringly patriotic edition of the popular “Porta a Porta” entitled “50 years of winning Italy”, upon which a succession of highly influential and successful guests each representing the sheer strength of Italian creativity in their respective fields arrive on-stage not through a door but in the powerfully emotive form of the Fiat 500.

Only a vehicle as legendary as the Fiat 500 could reasonably justify this incredible flow of vibrant appreciation and support this significant a groundswell in national pride! As the icon that it is, the 500 offers these same feelings of unbridled creativity and emotional attachment to owners, with smitten observers cementing its sheer desirability and unique flavour wherever these vehicles appear.

As well as undeniably adorable, the Fiat 500 offers leading levels of safety and an impressive standard specifications sheet, even in its most affordable Pop 1.2 form. Almost infinitely customisable, the 500 acts as the base for expressing the most acutely developed sense of personal style on top of the haut couture styling it comes with in standard trim.

The motors available offer an ideal middle ground between perky performance and exceptional fuel economy, while more than anything else this little city car wears its oversized heart on its effusive sleeves.

Adds Ryan Curling, Product Manager at Fiat SA; “While the new model might not be able to compete with its legendary forefather in outright sales numbers, it successfully captures the ingenuity and fantastic flair of this model in a more modern and arguably even more stylish idiom.

From relatively humble beginnings this vehicle has risen to superstar status within the brand portfolio, and its affect on our brand image as a supplier of premium Italian automobiles packed to the brim with the passion and brio which always seems to be so powerfully presented by this rich heritage cannot be underestimated.”

“The fact that in just one year as a new model, this exceptionally stylish city car has been unanimously accepted as the modern incarnation of a legendary package redolent with emotional appeal, is impressive if not entirely unexpected to us.

It manages to combine both this exceptional history with similar levels of magnetism even for more modern buyers who were never touched by the greatness of the original model through an absolutely unique expression of sheer style in the upper spectrum of the city car segment.

This incredibly broad appeal, bubbling over this week in the form of these high-profile celebrations and flurry of global birthday congratulations, makes the rebirth of this automotive icon a success in our eyes – and clearly many citizens of the world agree!”

These global second birthday celebrations for the Fiat 500 underscore the profound impact which this attractive little car, and it’s even more famous forefather, have had on the international automotive market.

This compelling combination of head-turning style, clever packaging and day-to-day practicality have catapulted the Cinquecento from its roots as an entry-level car built for the masses into the altogether more prestigious space it occupies today, proving that greatness is not the exclusive preserve of the wealthy, but stems directly from the passion poured into a product by skilled designers and dedicated engineers.

And by adhering to the same principles of the legendary original but adding modern components and values, such iconic greatness is no less applicable today than when the 500 first hit the streets of Europe 50 years ago.

Join us in our celebration of utmost artisanry today, and come test-drive one of our enticing Fiat 500 models – just be aware that the danger of leaving the Fiat showroom floor smitten and highly emotional is acute!

Fiat SA is currently evaluating the viability of the stunning new 500C open-topped model for the local market, and hopes to bring this ultimate incarnation of compact Italian style to SA shores in the near future.

Celebrating more than a decade of Fiat in South Africa!