Dispatches Do Brasil: Young Americans

Marcelo de Vasconcellos
by Marcelo de Vasconcellos
dispatches do brasil young americans

FCA has been trying to broaden the appeal of its Fiat line in the US. Success may be a ways off, into the future, or at least won’t materialize until the Jeep Renegade and Fiat 500X are launch. But that won’t stop the Italians from trying. In a bid to show off its minivan as a viable alternative for active young folks, Fiat will introduce its 500L Vans edition at the upcoming US Open – of surfing (yes, surfing, not the famous tennis tournament).

Co-sponsored by Vans (a shoe company), this concept relies heavily on visual cues to draw the attention of the cool dudes and gals that gather at such venues.

This 500L distinguishes itself by the four DRLs grafted on to the front bumper that look like the heavy duty lights seen on “adventure” vehicles, a blue and white two-tone paint job, a plaid roof, tennis sole looking pedals, special upholstery for the seats (that will remind some of a palm tree, others of a different plant), blacked out wheels, roof rack for surf boards and other items and some decals on the dashboard featuring myriad brands.

I love the paintjob and seat covers. I think the plaid roof is silly, but apparently plaid is “in” right now. I’m not old by any stretch of the imagination, but perhaps I’m out of touch.

Motivation is provided by Fiat’s 1.4 turbo good for 160 horses. It also features a 6-speed manual. And that, to me, is the most puzzling feature? How are American kids going to drive a stick?

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  • Ajla Ajla on Jul 29, 2014


    • See 2 previous
    • Pch101 Pch101 on Jul 30, 2014

      @Lorenzo Of course there is. -Build them in NAFTA -Use knockdown kits: http://fleetowner.com/management/news/sprinter_plant_up_running

  • 87 Morgan 87 Morgan on Jul 30, 2014

    I recall working at a Nissan store when the Xterra was introduced, it was heavily advertised and marketed to the Gen X crowd in the beginning. 2000 ish. What we found at the store, for the most part, was the target market of the hip ski bum outdoor adventure guy loved the rig but unless mom and dad sponsored, he had never seen 2k at any one time for the down stroke and the idea of having employment that could substantiate a car payment for any measurable amount of time was just too much to bear. So the continued to drive whatever it was they had, usually a 4runner with 200k on the odo. I don't know much about he surfer crowd...but. based on what I do know about the cost of ocean side living, this demographic could be a tough nut to crack.

  • Wstarvingteacher Wstarvingteacher on Jul 31, 2014

    WTG Onus. I know about vans because of a son who grew up (physically) during the 80s and 90s. I haven't been young (depending on your standards) for 45 years. However, I would like this car, the new vw Baja or whatever. DD for the wife and I is a 2013 Nissan cube. It was marketed to kids too but caught on with the older crowd due to practicability. I will probably wait and see what Nissan and Toyota come out with. Scion is a likely candidate. You can sell an old guy a young guy's car because most of us are beyond caring what you think. The remainder are probably buying a memory with all this retro stuff that started with the PT cruiser (which I did not like). I expect to buy something new next year. Like to keep something nice, dependable, and economical for the wife. My wheels are about to pass 200K but those are toyota miles. One of these new old/kid cars just might get the nod for her.

  • Safe as milk Safe as milk on Jul 31, 2014

    vans were popularized by sean penn wearing them in the movie "fast times at ridgemont high." it's an iconic film that i highly recommend. me, i like the car but then again i like basa nova and i'm in my fifties... not exactly their intended demographic.