Most special editions are offered to help manufacturers clear out the last run of an outgoing model before the replacement arrives. The smallest cars on the market, though, seem to have it backwards. When Smart introduced its new ForTwo city car, the special edition came not on the outgoing model, but on the incoming one. Now Fiat has revealed that, in advance of the introduction of the highly-anticipated 500, it will be offering a limited edition of its own.
Think the 500 looks no bigger than a large arm chair? Well, you're not far off. The special Cinquecentos are being offered exclusively during the International Milan Furniture Fair (April 18-23), as part of a promotion staged in conjunction with the Italian design house Cappellini. Two special versions – one in light blue and one in pearl white – will be offered to visitors of the "500 Lounge" at the Cappellini Temporary Store at the Piazza San Babila in downtown Milan, who can sign a non-binding inquiry to have their name placed on the list, later to be contacted by Fiat with pricing information and the option to buy or withdraw.
The Cappellini display will also feature a 250-square-meter autostethoscopic system at the entrance to the store, where interested customers can customize a virtual 500 on computer and then step inside the box to see a full-size 3D projection of what their car would look like, taking the "500 Wants You" campaign to a new level. Only 500 of the special editions will be made, and each will receive a special number plate and special badging.
Check out the press release after the jump for more details.
Fiat 500 Limited Edition to be Introduced at Launch
Fiat and Cappellini present a Limited Edition of 500 of the new Fiat 500 which may be booked in advance of the world première.
During the International Milan Furniture Fair it will be possible to reserve 500 numbered examples of an Opening Edition of the new Fiat 500 before the official launch, choosing between two versions, one of them designed by Cappellini.
The new Fiat 500 is a symbol of Italian styling excellence, a state-of-the-art solution for people who enjoy their cars in total freedom, motorists who want a car they can use every day, that is entertaining and practical, eco-friendly and accessible, but also appealing and original. This model confirms Fiat Automobiles' undisputed leadership in this category – a result of the extraordinary technological, design and human heritage that it has built up in more than a century of life. The model takes a quality leap forward for its segment, where design and safety, technology and equipment are concerned, without turning its back on its historical, cultural and industrial identity.
The new model's debut will be an exciting, important event, and the official launch, to take place in Turin, on July 4, has been preceded by a number of different initiatives. One of these has linked Fiat and Cappellini, an internationally renowned brand of Italian design, in a project that focuses on the new Fiat 500 and its stylistic concept.
During the International Milan Furniture Fair (from April 18 to 23), some of the companies exhibiting at the Fair will organise events in other parts of the city, transforming its entire urban fabric into an attractive centre for social and cultural aggregation. And one of the best-known sites organised outside the Fair, that arouses particular expectation with the public, is the one that Cappellini has set up this year in the former Upim store in Piazza San Babila.
The "Cappellini Temporary Store" is located right in the centre of town, and it occupies approximately 2000 square metres on two floors. It will be open to the public from 10 am to 8 pm, from April 18 to 24. In one area of this interesting venue, known as the "500 Lounge", the public will be able to reserve one of the 500 numbered examples of the Opening Edition of the new Fiat model. They will be able to choose between a version customised by Cappellini, featuring exclusive Light Blue, elegant mouldings, and a version enhanced by Pearl White bodywork, with an exclusive numbered badge on the outside pillar and a plate inside on which the customer's name can be engraved. Anyone interested can sign a non-binding purchasing request, granting him the right to a place on the waiting list for the assignment of one of the 500 Opening Edition versions of the car. Potential purchasers will be told details of the price and outfit at a later date, when they will be able to confirm or cancel the purchase.
At the entrance to the Cappellini Temporary Store is a 'black box' measuring about 250 square metres fitted with an autostethoscopic system. Outside the structure the visitor will access a multimedia station, where he can configure a Fiat 500 concept car, choosing the colour of the bodywork, the stickers to apply and some accessories. When he has terminated the operation, he will enter the 'black box' to see a life-size 3-D projection of his personal 500 Concept Car, and will then receive a print out of his prototype.
In line with the philosophy of the new model ("a car created for the people with the people's own ideas"), the configurator is an evolution of the famous Concept Lab, the virtual laboratory found on the site www.fiat500.com, that has already collected more than 160,000 configurations, and suggestions for the accessories and customisation of the new model. The inauguration of the Cappellini Temporary Store was the ideal occasion to announce the three winners of the Designboom international competition, divided into the "accessories", "everywhere" and "lifestyle" categories (the three projects are exhibited in panels displayed in a dedicated area, together with other outstanding proposals).
Developed in collaboration with Designboom (an independent web magazine for the design world), the competition is only one of the many initiatives studied by the creative team of "500 wants you", the interactive multimedia platform which, in advance of the official launch, is touching all sectors of communication: from advertising to viral marketing, fashion and photography. But it is on the web, thanks to the www.fiat500.com site that the "500 wants you" site really comes into its own. And the figures confirm that it has been a huge success: since it went online on May 3, 2006, the site has been visited by over two million users, and boasts a community of 50,000 fans.