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Fiat Starts Custom Shop For U.S. 500 Buyers


2013 Fiat 500

2013 Fiat 500

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One of the keys to MINI’s success in the United States is the vast amount of customization available on its cars. While it’s theoretically possible to spec a MINI Cooper that’s identical to a car ordered by another buyer, we’d have to rate the chances on the same level as sharing a set of fingerprints.

Now Fiat hopes to borrow a page from MINI’s playbook by offering personalized 500 models to U.S. buyers via its Fiat Custom Shop. Buyers can choose from a list of some 60 customization options at the time of order, which will be applied at the “Custom Shop” following the cars assembly.

Aside from the ability to quickly escalate vehicle pricing, the big drawback appears to be the delay in receiving your one-off Fiat. According to Autoweek, Custom Shop personalization will add up to 21 days to delivery time, meaning that a new Fiat 500 ordered with extras today won’t arrive until the end of the year.

Initially, the Custom Shop will add trim features like aero body kits, graphic packages and leather seat covers for Pop and Sport models. Functional items, such as roof racks, will also be available, but performance upgrades are off the list. For now, anyway.

As Fiat head Tim Kuniskis explains, “We’re going to start slow. We want to make sure it’s perfect.”

Assuming the program builds momentum (and sales), the goal is to more than double the options available through the Custom Shop, and include performance add-ons like sport exhaust systems and intake kits. Fiat announced a similar customization program, called "Fuori Serie," for European buyers of Abarth models at the Paris Auto Show.
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