Fiat are on something of a roll at the moment. Having made actual profits in 2008 (a rarity in itself in this climate) and subsequently taking a big stake in Chrysler (which with the state Chysler is in at the moment really means Fiat is in charge), they are up there with Audi as an example of how to manage a sales crisis in the Motor Industry.
But as we reported earlier today, Fiat are also getting in to the Eco-Car thing in a big way with their joint venture with BMW, which will see the relaunch of the Isetta and Topolino marques. And in the same vein, Fiat has launched the world’s first ‘Eco-Drive Challenge‘.
Fiat has got Jodie Kidd in on the act as the first person to take the Eco-Drive Challenge in London this week, in the Fiat 500 City Car. Which is a great choice of car for the challenge. It immediately puts the Fiat 500 in the headlines as an Eco-Car, shows how cute it is (and how much fun in Abarth 500 guise), and that you can also fit in to it even if you’re a great, long Supermodel (Jodie is 6’2″).
The test is simple but clever (aren’t all the good ideas?). Fiat’s Eco-Drive technology, which incorporates the Blue&Me communication and entertainment system, allows a little USB key to be plugged in to record driving patterns and behaviour on a test run. The data can then be analysed by Fiat to let the driver know how and where they can improve or change their driving style to be more fuel efficient.
The system analyses driver technique, and gives a score on an eco-index (must get ‘Eco’ in to everything!) and marks the drive out of 100, with tips on how to change braking, acceleration, gear changes and speed in a step-by-step tutorial to help you improve your economy. Smart little idea, and you get the results of the test drive whether you buy the car or not.
I’m sure we’ll be seeing Jodie in a Fiat 500 around town (but probably the Abarth) before long. Can’t see her completely giving up her Maserati yet, though.