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irish44j
irish44j Dork
11/6/11 12:46 p.m.

In reply to Streetwiseguy:

IDK, Audi and VW seem to be doing fine with their lasting legacy of electrical gremlins. Hondas have a legacy of premature rust. Ford got over the "exploder" and other epic fails. Chrysler has a list of lousy cars a mile long. Larnd Rovers have a legacy of being total mechanical and rusty POS's, but every upper-class soccer mom around here drives a Discovery or newer LR.

Every car maker has a few dud models or some "fatal flaw" during some time period in their history. I'm not a huge fan of the 500 (nor was I a fan of the original), but as someone who lived in Europe, they're all over the place. And somehow people there survived decades of driving them..

irish44j
irish44j Dork
11/6/11 1:04 p.m.
Knurled wrote:
irish44j wrote: I don't know that Ford has a trademark on the number 500, lol. Especially considering Fiat was using it decades before!
Ever see a Lancia Montecarlo for sale in the US? You may recognize it better as the Scorpion. Of course, the Fiat had been using the 500 name since 1936, while Ford only started using it in 1957... (not going to bring up the Mazda 323/BMW 323 fiasco, or the Audi S4/Lancia S4 debacle)

IDK, I'm not a lawyer so I don't know what is and isn't legal. Alot of cars change names in different markets to suit marketing as well. Look at all the japanese cars - they have different US names than JDM, not because of trademark but because of marketing.

Fairlady = 350Z (because what manly US man wants to drive a "fairlady" - no pun intended).

Bluebird = Datsun 510

Hell, even with non-number names there is duplication..

Dodge Lancer......Mitsubishi Lancer

or how about cars called the "GT" or with "GT" in the name/badging?

the list is long....

carguy123
carguy123 SuperDork
11/6/11 1:21 p.m.

Saw a real cool 500 tooling thru the Walmart parking lot today. Brand new dealer tags and some nice rims on it. Fiat offers you several factory options but these were aftermarket with just a little hint of a wider stance and it looked very nice.

The0retical
The0retical New Reader
11/6/11 1:35 p.m.
Wally wrote:
forzav12 wrote: Yeah, that's the legacy of Fiat. Sheesh, man. How about leaving the 70's behind and join the rest of us in the new millenium? Fiats have been reliable for many years now.
So have American cars, which for the most part never really reached the Fiat level of awful and many people still can't get past it. My wife mentioned wanting a new 500 convertible and two people told her to order it in brown so the rust wasn't noticible right away.

Haven't read the entire thread yet but there was an article some time back during the restructuring of GM and Chrysler about the psychological effects of buying a crappy car. What it essentially boiled down to was that buying a car is a huge purchase only made every 5 years or so. If you screw the buyer with shoddy quality parts to meet a price point it takes a very very long time for the consumer to forget that.

Examples of this include diesel cars in the US (it was before my time but I hear stories from relatives about the original diesel rabbit and trying to use it in the hilly northeast and how bad the US diesel cars stank), Fiats rusting (again an Uncle telling me about owing a fiat in the 70s), Alfas and their legendary maintenance records, and my personal experience of laying waste to Chrysler transmissions every 40k or less miles in the 90s (4! 4 transmissions before I sold that E36M3 box).

The same things could be said about Japanese cars in the 1970s. There were quality control issues, rust issues, cheap interiors (though I don't think Honda has this figured out yet personally, comparing an entry level Mazda to an entry level Honda), and reliability issues. It took until the 90's for people to really start forgetting those preconceptions about the Japanese cars. Enough time has probably passed that Fiat could reenter the US market and appeal to the younger generation of buyers with cute cars with plenty of options in a Scion type manner, but creating an artificial scarcity with a 20k car, and crappy marketing (though I see the tasteful drive in theater commercials a lot on Hulu+), is a pretty piss poor way of reentering the market in my opinion because it will cause buyers of the "I want it right now" generation to go elsewhere.

Edit to add to my minor rant:

The other problem Fiat is going to have in the long run is the marketing of the car as a fashion accessory. Eventually it is going to become "uncool" to own one of these things, then your market has dried up and there will be another hiatus from the US. For examples please see any fashionable clothing company which is now a shell of its former self (Timberland, Tommy Hilfiger, Nautica, Polo, Reebok, et al.) Way to set yourself up for failure for short term gains. I wish I had a golden parachute for doing a cruddy job for my company.

carzan
carzan HalfDork
11/6/11 1:59 p.m.
Knurled wrote:
irish44j wrote: I don't know that Ford has a trademark on the number 500, lol. Especially considering Fiat was using it decades before!
Ever see a Lancia Montecarlo for sale in the US? You may recognize it better as the Scorpion. Of course, the Fiat had been using the 500 name since 1936, while Ford only started using it in 1957... (not going to bring up the Mazda 323/BMW 323 fiasco, or the Audi S4/Lancia S4 debacle)

The Fiat 8V (Otto Vu) was reportedly so named because Fiat believed Ford owned the rights to the name "V8".

fast_eddie_72
fast_eddie_72 SuperDork
11/6/11 4:51 p.m.
belteshazzar wrote: the more the fiat seems like a bad idea the more i want one

Man, that's kinda exactly what I was thinking. But then, I'm building a 1984 Celica autocross car, so no accounting for being reasonable.

Snowdoggie
Snowdoggie Dork
11/7/11 8:31 a.m.
The0retical wrote: The other problem Fiat is going to have in the long run is the marketing of the car as a fashion accessory. Eventually it is going to become "uncool" to own one of these things, then your market has dried up and there will be another hiatus from the US. For examples please see any fashionable clothing company which is now a shell of its former self (Timberland, Tommy Hilfiger, Nautica, Polo, Reebok, et al.) Way to set yourself up for failure for short term gains. I wish I had a golden parachute for doing a cruddy job for my company.

But that would put a lot of them on the market cheap and ready to be used as autocross beaters and MINI killers. That might be a good thing.

Jeff
Jeff Dork
11/7/11 9:06 a.m.

There are two major problems with the 500 launch; they should have had the Abarth and the plain Jane ready at the same time (MINI model) and they need to have plenty of base models priced at $16k on the lots. Oh and the Jay Lo E36 M3 needs to go.

When the Abarth comes to Ontario, if it can be had for 25k ish, it could be my next car. Having drven the MINI for a year, I see no reason for a large car to dd anymore.

Ian F
Ian F SuperDork
11/7/11 10:21 a.m.
Snowdoggie wrote: But that would put a lot of them on the market cheap and ready to be used as autocross beaters and MINI killers. That might be a good thing.

.... after the Fiat gets off the exclusion list. Apparently considered a roll-over risk.

petegossett
petegossett GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
11/7/11 10:44 a.m.

Are they excluded from Stock class only, or all autocross competition?

Ian F
Ian F SuperDork
11/7/11 12:13 p.m.

From what I've read, only Stock is specifically mentioned, but I haven't found anything the allows them to run in ST classes either. One would need to browse around on SCCAforums.com (which I can't do easily from here). I believe there was a discussion about it.

JoeyM
JoeyM SuperDork
11/7/11 12:43 p.m.
Datsun1500 wrote:
irish44j wrote: Fairlady = 350Z (because what manly US man wants to drive a "fairlady" - no pun intended). Bluebird = Datsun 510
Seeing as my username is Datsun 1500.... and the 1500 is badged Fairlady...

Same with the name "bluebird".....Datsun/Nissan used it on many cars, not just the 510. Heck, the 810/910 wagon that I chopped up is technically a "bluebird"

Snowdoggie
Snowdoggie Dork
11/7/11 4:04 p.m.
Ian F wrote:
Snowdoggie wrote: But that would put a lot of them on the market cheap and ready to be used as autocross beaters and MINI killers. That might be a good thing.
.... after the Fiat gets off the exclusion list. Apparently considered a roll-over risk.

Didn't know that. Nobody at the 'Studio' warned me that I couldn't autocross one of those.

ddavidv
ddavidv SuperDork
11/7/11 4:18 p.m.

Rollover risk? WTF? It can't be worse than A1 Rabbits for first gen Focus (Foci?).

Snowdoggie
Snowdoggie Dork
11/7/11 5:11 p.m.
ddavidv wrote: Rollover risk? WTF? It can't be worse than A1 Rabbits for first gen Focus (Foci?).

I remember an SF Region autocross many years ago where an old Rabbit spent more time on three wheels than on four. Several people mentioned rollover risk to the driver, and the next time he parked on the grid, his son's skateboard was duct taped upside down to the top of the car.

I remember seeing some early Sciroccos up on three wheels back then as well.

chandlerGTi
chandlerGTi Reader
11/7/11 5:22 p.m.

I've never seen a MKI roll though. Some do better on three wheels than four. This whole 500 thing seems like it could have been staged better, but maybe wait and see is the right approach.

racerdave600
racerdave600 Dork
11/7/11 5:37 p.m.

The only cars I've seen roll during an autocross run were BMW's, a 2002 on worn out shocks and sticky tires, an E36 318Tii, and an E30 318is. Course design contributed to most of those too.

Anyway, just to chime in on the 500, I really want to like this car, but am having a hard time with it. The few I've seen in person didn't do much for me. I sat in one and it was pretty cheap in materials and assembly. I do think the MINI is much higher quality material wise, although that is pushing it a bit as they too use a lot of cheasy plastics. But we have to remember they are built to a price point, and the 500 really is cheap. I could have left with one for about 16k, and a few Mazda2's I've seen were in that ball park. It all depends on what you want.

The Abarth version could tempt me, but only if it has the 160hp or 170hp option. A 135hp option wouldn't have me in the showroom, er, boutique. If they only have the lower version of the Abarth, I fear it will be a complete waste. Now a 300hp AWD option would have my deposit today!

irish44j
irish44j Dork
11/7/11 5:43 p.m.
Datsun1500 wrote:
irish44j wrote: Fairlady = 350Z (because what manly US man wants to drive a "fairlady" - no pun intended).
Seeing as my username is Datsun 1500.... and the 1500 is badged Fairlady...

lol, I totally forgot the old verts had the fairlady badging! It's a cute little car though, so the badge somehow seems appropriate.

nonetheless, the market for an LBC-sized early Datsun is not the same crowd that Nissan is going after with the newer Z's in America. The 350/370 would probably not sell as well if they were known as the Fairlady rather than the "Z"

irish44j
irish44j Dork
11/7/11 5:49 p.m.
JoeyM wrote:
Datsun1500 wrote:
irish44j wrote: Fairlady = 350Z (because what manly US man wants to drive a "fairlady" - no pun intended). Bluebird = Datsun 510
Seeing as my username is Datsun 1500.... and the 1500 is badged Fairlady...
Same with the name "bluebird".....Datsun/Nissan used it on many cars, not just the 510. Heck, the 810/910 wagon that I chopped up is technically a "bluebird"

sure, but all of those cars were evolutions of the Bluebird....310. 410, 510, 610, 710, 810, 910, early maxima, early Altima, etc.

I wasn't trying to say that the 510 was the only one with Bluebird badging, it was just an example since 510s are so popular on GRM!

T.J.
T.J. SuperDork
11/7/11 7:08 p.m.
Jeff wrote: Having drven the MINI for a year, I see no reason for a large car to dd anymore.

I find the MINI's way too big as well. I did get a lot of strange looks this past weekend as I loaded up my Mini with a week's worth of groceries.

And speaking of rollover risks, I've had my Mini up on 2 wheels before. It was a bit scary after the fact. Was running Hoosier Formula 500 sized slicks at the time so there was way more traction than street tires.

HiTempguy
HiTempguy Dork
11/7/11 8:08 p.m.
T.J. wrote: And speaking of rollover risks, I've had my Mini up on 2 wheels before. It was a bit scary after the fact. Was running Hoosier Formula 500 sized slicks at the time so there was way more traction than street tires.

It's been a while, but I feel it is time to trot out an old picture of mine...

Bone stock, 205/55R14 Kumho V710's.

petegossett
petegossett GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
11/13/11 2:31 p.m.

I stopped by the Fiat dealer on the NW side of Indy again today, and from the looks of it they've probably only sold 3 or 4 since I stopped a couple weeks ago.

belteshazzar
belteshazzar SuperDork
11/13/11 2:49 p.m.

brown with a checkered flag?!?! that's so hot.

SyntheticBlinkerFluid
SyntheticBlinkerFluid Dork
11/13/11 2:58 p.m.

Sorry, I think they are a cool looking car. I really want to get out an test drive one, the wife does too. With no kids, that is the perfect car.

T.J.
T.J. SuperDork
11/13/11 8:04 p.m.

In reply to SyntheticBlinkerFluid:

No need to apologize. Styling is a subjective thing. You are perfectly allowed to think they are cool looking even if I don't. I have no problem with that. We are all entitled to our opinions.

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