When Fiat returned to the U.S. market two years ago, many critics and car fans dismissed its one and only offering -- the pint-sized 500 -- as a "chick car" with limited appeal.
They were only half-right.
Yes, the Fiat 500 has proven appealing to women, but to categorize that appeal as "limited" isn't quite accurate -- especially where special editions like the Gucci model are concerned.
On the whole, the 500 has been making slow, steady progress in America. Sales are up about 6% this year, which is no small feat considering that Fiat dealers are essentially selling just one ride.
When the Fiat 500 by Gucci appeared in the fall of 2011, however, sales were a bit more frenzied. Now the limited-edition Gucci model is prepping for its highly anticipated return.
2013 FIAT 500 BY GUCCI
As with many limited-editions -- especially those crafted by fashion houses -- the 500 by Gucci's upgrades are largely cosmetic. To complement the black and white exterior paint options, Fiat will offer a black monotone interior featuring snazzy chrome highlights. (Traditionalists, never fear: the 2012 model's two-tone interior color scheme will also be available.) As you might expect from an upscale Italian brand, the seats and instrument panel will be wrapped in leather, as will the steering wheel.
Of course, what good is owning a Gucci edition if plebes in the street don't know about it? The 2013 edition will again feature Gucci's signature green/red/green stripe running along the side of the vehicle. Chrome version of the Gucci logo will also appear along the door frames and on the hatchback. Retro-themed 15-inch aluminum wheels will match the car's exterior paint color, and the center caps will feature the interlocking "GG" symbol that tells the world you're driving a limited-edition Gucci model.
The 2013 Fiat 500 by Gucci will be available as both a hard and soft-top (the 500 and the 500c). The former is priced from $23,750, while the latter starts at $27,750. According to a press release issued by Fiat yesterday, they're due "in spring of 2013", which means they're probably already sauntering toward your nearest dealership.