When it was announced that Fiat was bringing its little Italian cars back to the U.S. market, I was excited. Fiat's blend of sexy chic and utilitarian sensibility truly embodies all things Italian. Besides, it costs thousands of dollars less than the Mini Cooper, another cute import.
In an attempt to win over consumers, the company opened little "studios" complete with colorful car models and an espresso machine. When I walked into the
showroom studio, I was accosted by a salesperson. Here we go, I thought, steeling myself for the typical automotive hard-sell. Instead, I was offered a cappuccino and the opportunity to look around and kick the tires on my own -- all while holding a rich, satisfying drink in my hands.
I was enchanted by the company's non-sales technique and complimentary hot beverages (not to mention an economical car at a reasonable price) and eventually wound up driving away in a pistachio-green model.
In an attempt to woo young urban professionals away from Minis and Scions, Fiat has come out with interesting colors and fun aftermarket options. Some of the accessories you can buy for your little car include eyelashes for the headlights, sporty wheel covers, Bose stereos, and a Barbie package that includes a hot-pink shifter, floor mats, and key cover.
This week, however, Fiat outdid itself by announcing it will offer an espresso machine option in the new 500L series. According to the auto manufacturer, the 500L is "the first standard-production
car in the world to offer a true espresso coffee machine that utilises the technology of the 'A Modo Mio' pods. It is perfectly integrated in
the car with a deck designed expressly by Fiat."
The machine, made
in conjunction with Italian coffee company Lavazza, is already making
headlines, with some people (mostly Americans) up in arms about the
little caffeine machine. My only qualm is that it's not yet
available in the Fiat 500, the model currently sold in the United
As for the claims that the coffeemaker is yet one more driving distraction
that can lead to accidents, I'll just speak for myself and say I'm at my
most alert after a strong shot of espresso. Until my iPhone's
Siri can pour me a cup of java, I'll be dreaming of the day when SoFiat
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Loren (my car's name) can make me a nice cup of joe for the morning