"FIAT has saved itself from extinction; today it is a place called hope". With these words Sergio Marchionne, Managing Director of Fiat, brought his two-day meeting with financial analysts at the Lingotto plant in Turin to a close, and earned long applause from the public. In a caption from Il Corriere della Sera:
By 2010 Fiat will be debt free with 3 billion euros worth of liquidity on the balance sheet. Marchionne announced 23 new models for 2007-2010 (the new Fiat 500, in the photo, will be launched in September 2007), as well as restyling for a wide range of existing models. By 2010, sales will rise from 2 million to 2.8 million. "Our goal in Europe," said Mr Marchionne, "is 11% of the market."
I remember my mother's old 500; it was white too. It fit 3 little girls, the food shopping and the occasional old lady who needed a ride. The car was magic; so small on the outside and yet it fit so many people inside. Once my mother pushed the accelerator pedal instead of the brake and we had a close encounter with the front gate to our building. There was some damage to the car and for us it was an adventure. Other than that, even so small, it felt safe.
The new model looks a lot like the one in my past. For this version, Fiat enabled budding designers around the world to submit their entry in a design competition judged, among others, by Giorgio Armani. The web site for the competition is here. Enter your name, select a language -- Italian, English, or Chinese -- and vote for your favorite video (valid until November 15).
Let me know what you think of the site, the personalization features -- we love to see our name displayed -- and don't forget to take a peak at the 500 faces, there's some tail faces and curves there. This is some pretty good storytelling.