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The Mouse to Mexico?

18 August 2009

There are rumors floating that Fiat, which bought out Chrysler (which tried, but never overcame, it’s muscle car, and big honking boat mentality) will begin assembling the Fiat 500 at their Toluca plant for North American distribution beginning next year.

fiat_500_001The Fiat 500 has been around longer than the VW bug now, having been in production since 1937.  This is the Topolino — the mouse that conquered Rome.  Although when first produced, Fiat was never able to meet their goal of creating a car that sold for 5000 lira (it retailed just under 9000 lira), it had one big advantage over the VW Beetle  — it was actually in production, whereas the Beetle wasn’t available to the public until after World War II.  After the War, the Topolino and Italy seemed to go together in the public image.  It ‘s not a powerful car, but it has it’s own instinsic cuteness, and it beats having no car.

Originally designed as a two seater,  Italians  crammed as many as five  (not counting bambinos and livestock) when they took to the road.  Fiat lengthened the car to meet demand, and the Topolino eventually gave way to the Bambino — slightly longer and with a better rear suspension in the 1950s.  With technical and design changes, it’s still a little, four-cylinder city car today:  with the redesigned (technically “retro”) Fiat Nuova 500 already available in Mexico (and selling well).

Anyguey gives five good reasons to buy a Fiat 500, among them beating out the competition in one important area — hipness potential:

With SUVs regarded as morally reprehensible by the educated elite, buying a Fiat will soon be the trendy choice for the eco-hipster-pseudo thoughtful man about town. The Mini Cooper has lost all counterculture edge and is now a favorite among suburban lesbians. The Smart Car looks like a toy, boasts none of the Fiat 500’s 52 year heritage and is too small inside to get your freak on.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Omar García permalink
    6 September 2009 5:58 pm

    Hey! It’s a little expensive… the cheapest version costs $234,900 MXN
    I still miss the old VW “Vocho”.

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