Just over one year has gone by since the announcement and, as planned in the brand relaunch plan, Abarth & C. S.p.A. has kept its promise to resume and bring up to date all the activities that have made its name go down in history. To emphasis the authenticity of the project, brand activities have immediately focused on resuming and bringing up to date all the activities carried out in the past by Abarth & C., beginning with direct participation in Italian and international races, the organization of single-brand trophies and the preparation of the cars for customers - moving through road cars and conversion kits to accessories and garments reflecting Abarth style. A whole new world has been reborn around the Abarth brand, hinging on the core values that bought it such good fortune in the past: innovation in design, the use of cutting-edge materials and attention to detail. All founded on the most authentic passion for motoring, without forgetting the human and engineering heritage.
The Abarth engineers immediately focused on one specific detail that has marked out the world of Abarth since the beginning: transferring the experience of motor racing to the world of road vehicles. Abarth has always been a byword for lively cars, challenges, passion and great emotion - and now it is back with the intention of appealing to the dreams of all motor-sport lovers: last September saw the first Abarth reinterpretation carried out on the Grande Punto and now comes the turn of the brand new 500 Abarth to add another notch to this ambitious project of Fiat Group Automobiles.
This clear, strong approach that Karl Abarth was first to make his own has now reappeared in the design and production of new models and in the development of all brand activities. Abarth achieves this goal by calling on the aid of leading companies in the sports car component field: Brembo, BMC, Sabelt, FPT–Fiat Power train Technologies and Magneti Marelli amongst others. These important partners of international scope guarantee the highest levels of performance and safety through their products: exactly in accordance with the Abarth philosophy.
The new Abarth is, however, first and foremost a company in its own right with a diverse organization (led by its CEO Luca De Meo), with its own headquarters and production workshop divided into four levels, with a product range and a dedicated distribution network: flagship store, dealerships, specialized preparation shops and service workshops.
The organization of this commercial network encapsulates three important brand values: sportiness, authenticity and customer relations. To ensure an authentic shopping experience, the conversion is carried out with the greatest attention to every detail in accordance with a unique style, a veritable distillate of references to the world of Abarth: history, sports cars, tuning kit, accessories, merchandising and the world of racing.
The first figures suggest that the products are selling as fast as an Abarth: more than 80 dealerships are already operating in Europe, in Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands and Greece. By the end of the year, the network should be complemented by the addition of Belgium, Portugal, Spain and Poland: this confirms the goal of 100 dealerships in Europe, the same number of official preparation shops and some 200 authorized workshops. The extension will also affect non-European markets, beginning with Japan by the beginning of 2009.
A distribution and preparation network that is truly one of a kind and has certainly contributed to the great success of the 155 bhp Grande Punto Abarth 1.4 Turbo T-Jet: more than 2000 cars have been sold in less than nine months since they first went on sale. Not to mention the fact that last May, two tuning kits for the 155 bhp Grande Punto Abarth 1.4 Turbo T-Jet went on sale, one entitled ‘Assetto’ and the other ‘esseesse’ (the latter also includes an engine modification that increases the car's power to 180 bhp): more than 500 kits have already been sold in just two months.
Customer age is another significant factor: more than 60% are under 30 while more than 30% of Abarth customers are buying a Fiat Group Automobiles product for the first time. These data confirm the worth of the project and uphold another historical Abarth value: allowing motorists to enter the world of motorsport in complete safety at an accessible price.
Now comes the turn of the brand new 500 Abarth to continue along this path, starting from absolute respect for an unforgettable past and taking forward into the future an entire world of victories, style and symbols that have made the Abarth Scorpion logo into an authentic legend that still stirs the blood of car enthusiasts.
From racing experience: technology, performance and safety
Sporty and practical style: an ideal stylistic balance between past and future
The style of the 500 Abarth, created by the Fiat Group Automobiles style centre, chimes perfectly with the Scorpion tradition and is no mere window-dressing but significantly contributes to the car’s performance. The best example of this approach to styling lies in the particular attention devoted to the aerodynamics and function of certain elements.
For example, the rear view of the 500 Abarth is typified by the presence of a special bumper, aerodynamic extractor, twin exhaust terminal and tailgate spoiler that give it a sporting look but also excellent aerodynamic performance. A scorpion logo is printed above the silencer, just as on the historical Abarth exhausts.
The front end makes a specific statement that the 500 Abarth is an out-and-out GT: the three-part pattern formed by the air intakes comprises a central intake that is larger than on the basic model, and an upper slot (above the number plates) that is also wider. The two symmetrical ‘nostrils’ on either side of the bumpers correspond exactly to the position of two corresponding intercoolers that can be seen through the openings and are there to ensure air is able to flow in and out.