Ask Americans what Fiat stands for, and the odds are pretty low that you'll hear, "Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino" to be the answer. The more far likely response is "Fix It Again, Tony." The ignominious moniker comes from the brand's stint selling often unreliable models in the US in the '60s and '70s, and it remains in some minds today. However, Fiat thinks the time is right to challenge the old stereotype, and it's doing just that with a new commercial for the forthcoming 500X compact crossover, while taking some shots at Honda, as well.
In the ad, a guy just wants his Civic repaired, but two heavily accented, Italian mechanics berate his Honda for not being sexy. The boss of the shop eventually promises, "We fix it," and the customer goes inside to enjoy an espresso. At no point is the infamous, "Fix it again, Tony," ever actually uttered, but it's strongly suggested with a sign for Tony's Fix It Shop prominently displayed in several shots.
In an interview with Automotive News, Fiat global brand boss Olivier Francois explained the idea behind the commercial. It "features a skeleton in the closet, the elephant in the room. His name was Tony, and he had to go," Francois said to AN.
The 500X goes on sale in the first half of 2015 in the US and shares a platform with the Jeep Renegade. The CUV is offered with either a 1.4-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder with 160 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, or a 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 180 horsepower.
The commercial certainly shows courage to take on the Fiat's old stereotype, but the brand has more to beat than just perception. The company came in dead last by a large margin in JD Power's 2014 Initial Quality Study, and it was also at the bottom of Consumer Reports' 2015 Predicted Reliability report. Scroll down to watch the ad for Fiat's attempt to challenge the legacy of Tony.