The next version of the Fiat 500 will feature styling revisions, but it won’t push the boundaries of styling, according to the company’s head of European design, Roberto Giolito.
Speaking with CarAdvice at the 2014 Paris motor show, Giolito expressed his intent to keep up with the times, yet maintain true to the original – and the current – 500 model.
“The Fiat 500 name contains the seeds for the new mobility,” Giolito said. “The car since the very first iteration in the 1950s was about reduction, it was about the vision. So the future of the family is also inventing the 500 design and functionalities.
“On the other hand we would like to evolve toward the pureness, toward the simplicity,” he said.
“The small car deserves little adjustments, only to adapt to the culture, to the technology. Small changes for the car that I wouldn’t like to swap it. It’s very important to keep the car as it is like some evergreen products. The Vespa. The Leica camera. Something that is good enough to remain in the hands or in the usage of the people in exactly the same condition,” he said.
“The real revolution of the small 500 will be, really, always inspired by the changes of the habits and also if the cars are going to be less driven by the volunteer or the driver, and more things are happening inside the cockpit – this is very important for the evolution of the 500.”
On the latest member of the 500 family, the Fiat 500X (below), Giolito said the idea was to maintain a link between the smaller hatch.
“The car is muscular, it’s quite empowering, but it’s not redundant. There are no decorations, nothing that is really creating a temporary look,” he said. “For a treatment of surfacing, of course this car is very much influencing the new action on the other models because it’s most cultured.
“The small one has created the paradigm for all this creation,” he said.
“On this car you can really create a morphing, a visual morphing from an image … and everything is coherent. I didn’t do anything different with this design.”
Giolito admitted that the 500L (below) was more of a departure from the cutesy styling of the standard hatch, but that it was intentional.
“The 500L was a moment where we decided to have a car that had no compromise to be a perfect minivan for Europe and the United States,” he said.
“The full visibility, 360 [degrees], is probably one of the core parts of the 500L. This makes the L less close to the original small car,” he said.
“The 500L – I like it so much as a design, because it’s so pure, more robust, more similar to the functional side of Fiat. Like the Panda, that is also a good companion of the family. Where I’m going is creating a family in harmony.”
However, Giolito stressed that harmony is not equal to imitation, calling out some fellow European brands that have gone with a level of cohesive styling that he isn’t a fan of.
“It’s important because I don’t like this similar, or only different by scale [cars like BMW]. For me it’s very difficult to recognise now a segment or car,” he said.
“I should have dimensions – width and length – in my head. But sometimes when you spot a car it’s hard to recognise immediately which [car it is in the model range], that is not good for me,” Giolito said.