Long time no Fiat column…
Seems like only yesterday, KC Confidential was all over the triumphant return of Fiat to the United States. You may recall that in addition to covering the return of the Italian carmaker to America – as a result of Fiat’s rescue of the now wildly successful Chrysler – I made an impulse buy and signed on to buy one of the first 500 "Prima Edizione" Fiat 500s, sight unseen, price unknown.
Pretty smart, huh?
As the months dragged by, I reported on the tiny car (seven inches shorter than a Mini Cooper) and defended the little bugger against all comers in KCC‘s caustic, few-holds-barred comments section.
Was I totally gay? Did I not know Fiat stood for "Fix it again Tony?" Why not do the right thing and buy a Mini?
Even former KCC sports scribe Greg Hall laid into me in his farewell column, "The Top 10 Reasons Greg Hall Left KC Confidential."
"Hearne promised (me) a Fiat 500 but the delivery date turned out to be December 2015…in Rome."
The indignity of it all.
Well, the worm has officially turned. Not only did Fiat outsell the Cooper in just eight months of its first year – 26,000 versus 25,000 for the Mini in its first 12 months during much better economic times – Fiat knocked the cover off of the ball Sunday with its "Seduction" ad during the Super Bowl.
But don’t take my word for it…
"Fiat Super Bowl Ad Most Effective in Boosting Traffic," reads the headline today at respected automotive information provider Edmunds.
" In its first real-time analysis of the impact of auto advertising during the 2012 Super Bowl, Edmunds.com said the three most effective ads, in terms of driving Web traffic during the telecast, were Fiat (500) Abarth, Lexus GS 350 and Chevrolet Sonic.
"Edmunds measured real-time traffic increases to advertisers’ model pages at seven different periods during the game: The start of the game (the end of the pre-game analysis), the end of the first quarter, the end of the second quarter, the beginning of the third quarter, the end of the third quarter, the end of the fourth quarter and the end of the post-game show."
On the local front, the phone lines exploded Monday at Fiat of Olathe with interested parties vying to get in line to buy the smoking hot little Abarth performance edition of the 500.
And why not?
It may be a couple tenths of a second slower to 60 than the Mini Cooper S, but the sexy Super Bowl ad combined with the sexy, Italian, nobody-else-has-one Abarth, combined with a 50 percent larger trunk and more rear seat legroom proved to be an irresistible combination.
The bottom line: "The numbers suggest the most entertaining Super Bowl ads are not always the most effective," Edmunds concludes. "Although we did find the 500 Abarth ad hit the mark on both counts."
Face it, when you’ve got a sexy ad that already went viral with well over 3 million hits and nobody speaking English, what’s not to like?
Or as one commenter on Edmunds says of the ad, "That’s what happened to me when I drove a 124 Sport Spider in 1973. I took her home and loved her for 14 years. I still miss her."
Guess what? She’s back.