Fiat's Retro Coup

With a remake of its 1950s Cinquecento, the once-ailing Italian carmaker shows design can be its competitive ace

Fireworks studded Turin's night sky on July 4 as 100,000 Italians gathered at Fiat's headquarters to celebrate the remake of the carmaker's historic Cinquecento—exactly 50 years after the iconic 1957 model made its debut. The new version of the cuddly car immediately struck a national heartstring: It has racked up more than 57,000 orders, prompting Fiat to expand annual production by 20,000 to 140,000 units at its Tychy plant in Poland. "It has the same elements of cuteness and seriousness as the original," says Fiat 500 designer Frank Stephenson.

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