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Fiat wants 500 to be affordable to all

09 July 2007

Fiat plans a series of easy finance packages linked to ultra-long warranties to ensure the super-cool new 500 is within the reach of anyone when it goes on sale in the UK next January.

In Italy, buyers can have any model with any combination of the 100 accessories for five Euros a day (about £100 a month).

In France, the car is available for a 50% down payment, with the other 50% payable as a lump sum two years later.

Buyers who opt for either of these packages are automatically given a five-year, 500,000-kilometre (300,000-mile) warranty - and Fiat plans to make similar schemes available to UK buyers.

The aim is to reinforce Fiat's claim that the 500 is built to higher standards than even Japanese small cars, while ensuring that almost anyone can afford it.

There will also be roadside rescue packages that will even help you if you run out of petrol or lose your keys, and collect-and-deliver servicing deals like those more usually offered with big cars.

Fiat says the 500 is about individualism, not exclusivity - a policy successfully followed by the 500's main rival, the UK-built Mini.

With that in mind, there will be 15 upholsteries, 19 sets of decals, nine wheeltrims, 12 colours and even three fragrances for the plug-in canister you can buy to perfume the interior.

Fiat says there are more than half a million possible configurations.

The 500 is available with 1.2- and 1.4-litre petrol engines and a 1.3-litre turbodiesel, and is likely to cost from around £9000 in the UK.

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