Fiat — the stylish Italian brand that aspires to be your fashion choice as well as your ride — will offer upscale Gucci editions of its 500 coupe and cabriolet in the U.S. starting in December.
Fiat isn’t saying what the price will be yet. The base 500 coupe and convertible start at $16,000 and $20,000 with shipping.
The Gucci models come in classic black or pearl white and have the signature Gucci green-red-green stripe on the coupe’s beltline or the cabrio’s fabric roof. The stripe’s also on the seat belt and seats — in leather apropos of its Italian heritage. The models get their own retro wheels with the interlocked Gucci G’s logo on the hubcaps and Gucci-green brake calipers.
“With Gucci as our design partner, we’ve amplified the Italian style of our Fiat 500,” said Laura Soave, head of the Fiat brand in North America, in a statement. She sees “appeal to North American customers who appreciate Italian style just as much as modern technology, value and fuel efficiency.”
Fittingly, Fiat will first show the 2012 “Fiat 500 by Gucci” U.S. models on Sept. 8 during New York’s Fashion Week, the designer trade show and party extravaganza. In this case, the Fiats actually look stylish and the accents seem to fit — quite unlike many “designer edition” auto efforts, such as Lincoln’s garish 1970s Bill Blass, Cartier, Givenchy editions.
The special 500s were customized by House of Gucci creative director Frida Giannini and Fiat design. “Traveling in style has also been at the heart of Gucci ever since Guccio Gucci founded his company as a producer of leather trunks, suitcases and handbags in 1921. So … it struck me as a perfect opportunity to create a new modern travel statement in Gucci’s 90th anniversary year,” said Giannini. Fiat also notes the union is on the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy.
There’ll also be a “500 by Gucci” collection of travel accessories, small leather goods, tracksuits, bomber jackets, driver gloves, sunglasses and a watch for sale at Gucci stores and its website.
Fiat has sold about 8,000 500s in the U.S. since rollout in March, fewer than it hoped for by now, and Fiat has said it is unlikely to hit its earlier target of 50,000 this year. The launch has been hampered by slower-than-expected dealer openings. The brand has blamed holdups for dealers in getting local permits for new showrooms. But the pace has picked up and Fiat now has about 100 U.S. dealerships — which it calls “studios” — on its way to a planned about 130.
Source : content.usatoday.com