I saw the new Fiat 500 this weekend, and coincidentally I ran into a couple at a show that had a classic fiat 600. The couple claimed old fiat owners and clubs are embracing the new Fiat like it’s the second coming. They said the club folks are buying the car in droves and are wrapping the new 500 in all the history and heritage they can. Contrast this approach with the new Mini. Distance…………….
That’s the kindest word I can come up with as far as Mini’s are concerned, and I don’t know why. there are plenty of classic Mini owners like myself that honor and respect the new Mini, many own both. Honestly though when talking with the classic Fiat owners I was really jealous. It seemed like from the top down Fiat was embracing the history of their little car, and supporting clubs and loyal Fiat fans. Love was oozing out of the classic Fiat owner like I wish it was oozing out of me for the new Mini.
It’s debatable, but I believe the Mini has a deeper racing heritage, and is a better design, what scares me is the fun factor. For years I’ve said the Mini gets more fun per mile than any other car on the road. Now I’m not so sure. This new Fiat is in Mini territory for fun, the Mini tickles me sometimes, deep into a turn where most cars get loose the Mini just keeps asking for more until you start to giggle. Mini’s new countryman may be very capable, but it’s not a tickely car. Stand the new 500 next to a Countryman and you’ll see two very different directions. Add in the Fiat love fest for their classic history, embracing their clubs and I actually heard the words “we’re all Fiat” I’ve never heard the words “we’re all Mini”
BMW did a dangerous thing distancing themselves from classic owners and clubs. We’re the folks that can communicate fun to new customers, we’re word of mouth forever. We’ll NEVER stop loving our Mini’s and can teach your new customers about Mini and give them something they won’t want to lose……….family.
It wouldn’t be hard to embrace us. Special parking for classics at dealerships (just one or two places for classics only) Use of facilities for club events, Classic/new owner days where we get to let new Mini customers sit in and get to know classics. Right of first refusal to buy new models, ask us if we would like first dibs on the new version, let us drive it and offer it to us first so we can share in the fun of new shiny things.
Send someone to a club event once a year and give us an update on what’s happening internationally.
Talk to us, let us in, let’s share the fun again, because if you don’t………….. Fiat is.