NEW YORK AUTO SHOW: Fiat Stealing From The Mini Playbook, But Is That Such A Bad Thing?

You  might argue there’s only one Italian in U.S. Fiat stores — the 500 —  and that until dealers get some more product, Fiat is extending the  brand any which way it can.

But there’s another side to the  proliferation of 500s, which you can see just a couple stands away at  Mini. That brand’s plenitude of variants at this show includes a  limited-run surfer woody kind of mini-minivan and the born-to-zoom John  Cooper Works Paceman.

Mini has had an amazing run, defining a  niche and expanding into every crevice of the Euro-stylish, performance  subcompact market. It’s also largely been unchallenged in its little  (pun intended) world — until now. It’s quite clear that Fiat isn’t  merely playing for time with attention-getting variations on the 500.  It’s running the Mini playbook.

 

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