Faced with a tough market, whatâ€™s an automaker to do when trying to make noise in a crowded arena? Introduce a special edition, of course.
Fiatâ€™s done just that with its 2018 Fiat 500 Banana Cabana Urbana Edition. The company is dropping this version of the 500 at this weekâ€™s New York Auto Show.
Available as an option on the 2018 Fiat 500 in Pop trim (thatâ€™s the base model), the Urbana Edition gets black-trimmed exterior lights cribbed from snazzier 500s and a set of 16-inch black aluminum wheels. The all-black-everything theme continues inside with dark shades on the Sport Cloth buckets and an instrument panel spritzed with black paint. Urbana editions featuring similar visual frippery already exist on the 500X and sheepâ€™s-head-ugly 500L.
This author never tires of reading the names bestowed upon paint colors by Italian designers. The Urbana Edition is available in Pompei Silver, Bianco White Ice, Perla White Tri-coat, Granito Gray, and Metallo Gray. Those are excellent names.
Fiat sales peaked in the 2014 calendar year, when the brand sold 46,121 little roller skates to the American public. Last year, that number totalled about half that amount: 26,492. All by itself, the 500 made up 47.9 percent of that number with the 500X andÂ 500L comprising most of the remainder. The 124 Spider caught 4478 customers in its web.
During the first two month of this year, 2,470 Fiat have found homes, compared to 4,309 units during the same period of 2017. Iâ€™ll let you extrapolate what that may portend for the rest of this year.
Shoppers strolling into a FIAT store â€“ sorry, studio â€“ will find deep incentives on some models. The 2017 500X front-wheel drive in Lounge trim is advertising itself with $6000 worth of cash on the hood in some markets, not to mention subvented rates.
As we learned a few weeks ago, the entire Fiat 500 lineup is turbocharged for 2018. The 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine delivers 135 horsepower and 150 lb-ft of torque now across all models. Five years ago, your humble author piloted a turbo-equipped Fiat 500 over 1,000 miles in a snowstorm, finding it to be a tossable unit in the white stuff (unintentionally, sometimes) and quite efficient even in the face of snow drifts and winter tires.
One of the challenges facing Fiat (or is it FIAT? Both are listed on the companyâ€™s official docs) is a customer who desires, say, a rip-snorting 500 Abarth model can easily find one for less than $10,000 on the used car market, driving away with a machine that looks exactly like a brand new one costing twice the price.
TheÂ 2018 Fiat 500 Urbana Edition will be available this spring.
[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]