FIAT 500

05.07.2007 in a spectacular blaze of fireworks and entertainment the new Fiat 500 arrived

An exciting event took place in Turin last night, something unlikely to ever be replicated in any city in any other country: as here the car-crazy citizens of the land of style and culture turned out en masse to celebrate the arrival of a brand new car Ė the eagerly awaited Fiat 500.

The rebirth of Italyís most treasured automotive icon was always going to be a very special occasion, and Fiat simply didnít disappoint last night, they put on a show that defined extravagance and splendour, and Turin responded with a passion, it seemed that everyone was crammed in against the riverbanks for the spectacular show which took place on the River Po. The huge temporary grandstands erected for the occasion were crammed with more than 7,000 guests - including 3,750 dealers, over 1,000 Italian and international journalists, 200 suppliers and 100 financial analysts.

The original Fiat 500, which was launched exactly fifty years ago to the very day, soon took its place at the heart of the nationís affections. With its compact dimensions and tiny but zippy engine it offered the Italian people a car they could afford for the first time, and arrived just as they were thrusting their way out of the ruin and gloom of World War II. Built for nearly two decades it is still fondly remembered and many of these machines are to this day buzzing around the Italian roads. And as the build up to the launch of the new 500 model last night got underway, hundreds of the original cars descended on Turin - the 'Detroit' of Italy - all day. Some had travelled from as far as Australia. The thriving, bustling city of Turin that was thrust forward into a new future on the world stage when it hosted the last edition of the Winter Olympic Games, was wrapped up in an orgy of celebration all day as it prepared to welcome its newest model.

The new 500 has been handed very tough act to follow. But just like the new VW Beetle and BMW Mini the build up to the arrival of the 500 has created a palpable excitement like few other models have managed in recent years.
 

Singers and entertainers took to the huge stage, before a section of stage bearing award-winning Lauryn Hall (above) came floating down the Po to slide into the vacant gap, bridging the river.

At the final 'curtain' of last night's show four new Fiat 500s majestically rolled out of the shadows in single file, nimbly making their across the stage.


Its rebirth this year, with 25,000 pre-orders already taken, stems back the tiny Trepiuno, an innovative concept car shown four years ago and which created such an instant surge of appreciation from the media and public alike that Fiatís management were swept along with that euphoric tide.

And last night that euphoric tide built up to engulf Turin. Wave after wave of fireworks surrounded the huge floating stage purpose built two thirds of the way across the River Po, and act after act kept the bursting crowds on their tiptoes as the main celebrations finally got underway in the darkness at nearly ten thirty. Various special craft floated down the river, while singers and entertainers took to the stage, before a section of stage bearing award-winning Lauryn Hall came floating down the Po to slide into the vacant gap, bridging the river.

As the fireworks smashed in the night sky and their bangs triggers dozens of car alarms, the hour of midnight approached. At the final 'curtain' four new Fiat 500s majestically rolled out of the shadows in single file, nimbly making their across the stage. The new 500 had finally arrived. And as the night rolls on, the Piazzas of Turin are filled to capacity with partying citizens as the city rocks its way towards daylight on this very special of days. This modern, vibrant and proud Northern Italian city is completely synonymous with Fiat, and the message that the Turinese people embraced with a passion, exactly 50 years after the original 500 icon was launched, is that for the famous century-old carmaker the good times are now back, and with a bang.

by Edd Ellison in Turin
 

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03.07.2007

From this Friday until mid-September, the Galleria Ferrari at Maranello will present the new Fiat 500 amongst the many 'Prancing Horse' cars, symbolising the close relationship between Fiat and Ferrari

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