Petite Italian Model Seeks Love in Saskatoon

“The hardest part about designing a car is keeping it simple. Through simple, functional, responsible engineering comes beauty. The 500 and 500c is everything you need and nothing you don’t. We didn’t start by “adding”; we started by stripping away what was not needed. The 500 and 500c are both beautiful expressions of simple, functional Italian design.” – Roberto Giolrto, the designer behind the reinvention of Fiat’s historic 500 nameplate.
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My take: The new FIAT 500 is as fun and as iconic as the original. But that’s not all: FIAT’s long-anticipated return to the North American market brings the new FIAT 500 + the opportunity for a customer experience that is as unique as the FIAT 500 itself.

In short, the new FIAT 500—a modern take on a motoring icon—will be offered to the potential buyers in specially designated spaces called “FIAT studios”. This past Friday (May 6 2011), I had the pleasure of exchanging a few words with Paul Savoie of Studio FIAT in Saskatoon, about the FIAT 500 and the soon to be opened Studio FIAT in Saskatoon.

Jenan: Paul, what can you tell us about the unique FIAT studio concept?
Paul: The FIAT Studio concept will be different than your traditional dealership or car showroom experience.

By having our studio showroom downtown in the Second Ave lofts building (122 23rd Street East), it’s right away a different feel, different environment right there.

Our new studio will offer a unique experience for anyone looking for a car because it will be situated in a more intimate, boutique setting. There’s going to be a design studio in there with interactive display panels; the FIAT Specialists will be there (think along the lines of concierge services) to help people individualize, personalize the car to make it truly their own.

Jenan: Who’s your target audience for the FIAT 500?
Paul: It’s a wide demographic that this vehicle can appeal to. Anybody who desires iconic styling, world class engineering and maximum fuel efficiency. And that’s really not specific to any age.

The new FIAT 500 is good-all-around-car that can appeal to anybody across the demographic spectrum, from students to retired people. Basically anybody who wants a good, stylish car for getting around town that’s fun to drive, easy to park in the garage, gets great mileage and can seat four people.

Jenan: Now, let’s talk about the car—it strikes me as definitely Italian. It looks like you can get a lot of personality into this car. What are some of the features on the 500 that will attract the buyer?
Paul: Sure. Beyond the obvious great fuel economy and the styling is the fun factor. The car is really fun to drive. Great value: they start $15,995, plus Freight and Pre-Delivery Inspection. Safety: they come with seven standard air bags.

Some of the things you can’t see: inside the vehicle there are some really neat features such as eco:Drive— an innovative, easy-to-use feature that will help you improve how efficently you drive. It analyses you driving style and helps you use less fuel and reduce your CO2 emissions. There’s already an online community about eco:Drive in Europe, and there’s going to be one soon in North America.

Jenan: Awareness always precedes choice. People need to be aware of something before they can make a choice. What are your marketing plans for the FIAT 500?
Paul: We are just about to launch a new website for it which is And then we are going to use some of the more traditional media, such as radio, newspaper. So print and electronic media, as well as social networks media such as facebook and possibly twitter, but that’s something we’ll have discuss with the new brand manager. Basically, all kinds of media and also some grassroots marketing opportunities such as shows and outdoor events in summer.

Jenan: My last question Paul, what kind of coffee do you plan to serve in your new FIAT studio?
Paul: Illy Coffee.

Jenan: Great choice—thank you Paul and all the best until next time!
In Saskatoon, May 6 2011

Pictures by RealView