03.04.2009 JAPANESE FIAT 500 OWNERS GATHER AT CITTA NAPOLI FOR 9TH 500 POLI

FIAT 500
FIAT 500

The new Fiat 500 is proving to be a hit with Japanese car buyers and last Sunday during the ninth edition of 500 POLI no less than 30 of the new versions lined up alongside immaculate examples of its historical predecessor.

The new Fiat 500 is proving to be a hit with Japanese car buyers and last Sunday during the ninth edition of 500 POLI no less than 30 of the new versions lined up alongside immaculate examples of its historical predecessor.

500 POLI is an annual event dedicated to the Fiat 500, and it was being held for the ninth time this year. It took place at the Citta Napoli resort in the south and was sponsored by Il Museo della Cinquecento, a popular museum in Japan that honours the tiny urban car. For next year's 10th anniversary edition an event grander event is planned. However this year, as well as the 30 new 500s that were on show that covered all the versions, POP, Lounge, Sport and Abarth and several uniquely customised examples, there were 38 examples of the original and much loved 500. Interlopers on the day, which was held in very pleasant dry and sunny conditions, included the new Alfa MiTo which attracted much attention.

The central piece to 500 POLI this year was a timed rally. The participants ran  along a set course of about 50 km and completed a quiz. The concealed target time was announced after the rally had ended and the person who was the nearest to it was declared the victor. The set time of this year was 4 hours.

The brand new owners' club in Japan dedicated to the new Fiat 500 was strongly represented and it helped to swell the numbers. To provide an outlet for the enthusiasm of Japanese buyers, who are purchasing the 500 at a rate of around 200 units a month, a fully-fledged new owners' club, appropriately called Bambino, was recently formed and it held its inaugural meeting in January.

Currently the only examples of the 500 to be officially imported to Japan by Fiat are in right hand drive configuration and are fitted with the roboticised Dualogic gearbox. However there are quite a lot of parallel importers bringing other the members of the range, and on show on Sunday was a specially customised green left hand drive 500, that grabbed a lot of attention during the Tokyo Auto Salon 2009 back in January, dressed by aftermarket Italian car accessory supplier Any's International. Customising the 500 has proved a very popular option across markets where the car is sold and this is equally the case in Japan too where the cars at the meeting sported such accessories as the chequered roof sections, full length stripes, painted calipers and many optional alloy wheels.

Several examples of the sporty Abarth versions of the 500 also turned up; however all these cars have been imported well ahead of the Scorpion brand's official launch in Japan which took place six weeks ago with the arrival of the Grande Punto Abarth in the first two dedicated dealerships that are located in Tokyo and Osaka. Two more Abarth showrooms will open this month in Nagoya and Fukuoka to quickly double the number of outlets. The 500 Abarth is due to join the Grande Punto Abarth in the four dealerships in May. Next event in the Japanese calendar for 500 enthusiasts will be the 16th Fiat Festa 2009; it will be held at the INA circuit at the end of this month. For more information of the Bambino owners' club email info@any-s.net
 

2009 Interfuture Media/Italiaspeed