77TH GENEVA INTERNATIONAL MOTOR SHOW77TH GENEVA INTERNATIONAL MOTOR SHOW & ACCESSORIES

12.03.2007 THE SCORPION IS RE-LAUNCHED IN GENEVA

One of the most important announcements, and one which firmly captured the attention of the world's media, at the 77th Geneva Motor Show last week was the re-launch of the Abarth brand, an evocative name completely synonymous with highly tuned Fiats as well as countless motorsports victories.

Fiat chose the prestigious occasion of the Geneva Motor Show last week to re-launch the famous historic Abarth brand, displaying the Super2000 triple rally championship-winning Grande Punto Abarth S2000 alongside its brand new road sister, the Grande Punto Abarth, on the occasion of its world preview, which will be powered by the new 150 bhp 1.4-litre turbocharged T-Jet engine, when it goes on sale during the autumn.

The two aggressive-looking cars are being presented to the public at the Swiss motor show on a compact stand which is walled, an effect that serves to arouse curiosity and emphasise exclusivity. The re-launch press conference last Wednesday morning was very well attended and a special commemorative media pack was beautifully laid out and presented.

Fiat motorsports' boss Claudio Berro was keen to emphasis that the Abarth re-launch marks the arrival in the marketplace of a serious new brand name that will stand alone in its own right, a fact underlined by the positioning of the Abarth stand in a separate hall to Fiat's own display. "The start of the Abarth launch came from the motorsport idea, two years ago Fiat decided to buy back the whole company and to decide to compete directly in rallying with the Fiat Grande Punto," Berro explained to Italiaspeed in Geneva. "The decision was made to use the Abarth name. The Abarth name is well know in motorsport, especially together with Fiat; in rallying there was an incredible link with, the Fiat 124, 131 models with tuning and produced with Abarth, competition cars.

"The Fiat Group decided to have a new brand," continued Berro, who is responsible for the Fiat and Alfa Romeo competition programmes. "However, today the cars we use in rally are called Grande Punto Abarth, not Fiat Grande Punto, even the normal production car we start in September, we present for the first time is the Grande Punto Abarth. In Geneva we launch two cars with the Abarth name, the racing on one side, and the road version on the other side.
 

GRANDE PUNTO ABARTH

Fiat have chosen the prestigious occasion of the 77th Geneva Motor Show to re-launch the Abarth brand on a bright, compact stand that beats to the famous, historic scorpion.

GRANDE PUNTO ABARTH
GRANDE PUNTO ABARTH

One of the most important announcements, and one which firmly captured the attention of the world's media, at the 77th Geneva Motor Show last week was the re-launch of the Abarth brand, an evocative name completely synonymous with highly tuned Fiats.


The road-going Grande Punto Abarth will offer 150bhp in standard guise, or 155bhp through the use of 98 RON petrol, when it goes on sale in September; while an additional booster kit will allow power to be raised to a potent 180 bhp. The model in Geneva featured new colour-coded front and rear bumpers, with a thrusting deep and meshed spoiler at the front, and a racing-style 'diffuser' effect at the back where a black tailgate spoiler adds to the car's overall aggressive stance. New sill and wheel arch covers, together with dark 17-inch alloy wheels (shod at the show with 215/45R17 Pirelli tyres) which bulge out of the wheelarches, all add to the impression that this is going to be no subtle high performance car, the re-launched Abarth name intends to stand out.

Inside, the Grande Punto Abarth a new sporty interior includes body-hugging racing-style leather seats, which feature brash red piping; this use of highly distinctive stitching being extended across the dashboard, the gearknob, and the leather door pull-handle inserts. Furthering the use of dark red are the two eye-catching instrument dials. Continuing with the 'racing' image, carbon-fibre finish effect is used on the dashboard.

While the stand was richly emblazoned with the new corporate and mildly revised version of the famous scorpion logo, this evocative badge too is highly prominent on the new Grande Punto Abarth, replacing the Fiat logo on the front grille and tailgate, the wheel centres, and on the bodywork flanks. Mimicing the new colours of the Super2000 rally machine, the road version has red stripes down the sides with Abarth written down them. Inside, the red-and-yellow Abarth badge dominates the centre of the sports steering wheel and is stitched into the uprights of the 'bucket' style seats, while a small aluminium 'scorpion' badge is also splashed onto the dashboard, and 'Abarth' is splayed down the polished steel kick plates.

by Edd Ellison
 

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11.03.2007

Andrea Navarra and the Abarth factory team this afternoon won the IRC classification of the Safari Rally, after a dramatic final leg that saw them survive a puncture and then recover from a penultimate stage gearbox failure

Photos 2007 Interfuture Media/Italiaspeed

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