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Author Topic: Abarth 500 Rant  (Read 7703 times)

Offline simer

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Abarth 500 Rant
« on: December 12, 2008, 02:02:29 pm »
Ever since the Trepiuno concept appeared at Geneva in 2004 I have lusted after the 500 and since an Abarth version was mooted in 2006 I knew it was the one for me.

Needless to say I was pretty quick in putting down a deposit last July. Since then the wait has been excruciating to put it mildly.

Perhaps foolishly on my part I originally expected to get the car in January - sadly this is not to be and any other date is sheer speculation at this time.

Frustration is rapidly replacing excitement.

The frustration is borne from the apparent shambles that is Abarth UK. People have said to me, email them - I did but got no reply. Having then phoned them I was told "Oh yes our email doesn't work - that's why we haven't replied". Now that's what I call service.

Today it has gone from bad to worse - they don't even have a functioning phone system - it rings, it puts you on hold and then it cuts you off.

The longer I wait the more I question the whole Abarth experience.

Despite having had our money since July we still have not been able to place our orders, nor do we know the prices, specifications or delivery dates.

We know that there will be 200 "take it or leave it" launch cars but beyond that we have no idea how long it might take to get our own spec cars. What with the Xmas break it is likely to be April at the very earliest - 9 months from placing deposit. If you want a car quicker you are effectively bullied into taking one of the 200 even if the spec isn't really to your liking.

So the email, phone, ordering and delivery aspects of the Abarth experience are left wanting, what does the rest of the set up look like?

The more I think about it the more I worry about the very small dealer network. Servicing is going to be a real issue - simply getting the car to the dealer is one problem and, if the general Fiat network is anything to go by, the quality of the service once you get there is another. At least with my Fiat I have been able to find a good local dealer but sadly unless they get awarded one of the few Abarth Service Centres they will not be able to deal with the 500A.

I take issue with Fiat/Abarth and their dealers saying "But it's not a Fiat, it's an Abarth." What a load of old tosh - it's like VW saying a Golf Gti isn't a VW it is a Gti. At the end of the day the Abarth is a mildly sporty Fiat when all's said and done. It isn't an Alpina BMW or a RUF Porsche or anything remotely like it.

The small dealer network could seriously impact on depreciation since only real petrol heads will put up with the pitifully small network and a huge part of the potential market for the cars may be deterred from even considering them.

Sorry if this may seem so negative but I think it raises some real issues which both Abarth, their dealers and potential purchasers might like to consider.

Despite all of this there isn't another car which I desire more than the 500 Abarth.

AbarthForum.co.uk

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    AlexK

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    Re: Abarth 500 Rant
    « Reply #1 on: December 12, 2008, 02:35:08 pm »
    From what I understand, the meeting to finalise UK price and spec took place yesterday in Turin.  So now we're just waiting for the press office to rumble into life, and that means I expect a release some time during next week.

    I can't decide if I want to reply to the rest of your post, because I'd hate for it to be taken out of context.

    Offline simer

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    Re: Abarth 500 Rant
    « Reply #2 on: December 12, 2008, 02:45:14 pm »
    Alex - please reply as you see fit - I stand by what I have said and won't take umbridge if you have a different view.

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinions whether others agree or not - just as long as it doesn't become a personal attack I'm quite happy for the debate to run on.

    Offline John501

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    Re: Abarth 500 Rant
    « Reply #3 on: December 12, 2008, 02:47:02 pm »
    Simer, Whilst I understand your frustrations all I can advise is to watch this space. Ordering will open very soon and dependant on the uptake of the first 200 cars, some may be "varied" to suit the spec that you want. You are a very early adoptor and the cars will be alocated in the order that deposits were taken.
    Please be a bit more patient and your wishes may still come true. I am not suggesting that you will get your car in January, but a Febuary delivery is still not out of the question.
    Visit Vospers Abarth, Plymouth

    Offline simer

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    Re: Abarth 500 Rant
    « Reply #4 on: December 12, 2008, 03:07:33 pm »
    some may be "varied" to suit the spec that you want.

    Varied as far as Red paint, white mirrors & stripes, cloth interior, climate and 55E wheels?

    I shall live in hope!

    Offline John501

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    Re: Abarth 500 Rant
    « Reply #5 on: December 12, 2008, 03:27:42 pm »
    To Vary a car in what the factory call "light variability" means you can change anything apart from the engine, gearbox and air-conditioning.
    Visit Vospers Abarth, Plymouth

    AlexK

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    Re: Abarth 500 Rant
    « Reply #6 on: December 12, 2008, 03:30:05 pm »
    I can understand your frustration, and you'll get no argument from me regarding the effectiveness (or otherwise!) of Abarth UK.

    But I do feel you are winding yourself up about this unnecessarily.

    The 500 was always due to arrive around February time, and for months we've known the anticipated base price to be around £13,500.

    I'm worried that even having the car arrive on time and priced as expected still won't make you happy, because you've allowed yourself to tarnish your own possible ownership experience by looking for issues that aren't really there - perhaps driven by understandable eagerness to find out information of *any* kind, in the absence of anything else.

    On the dealer network issues, we know there are several dealers that are very enthusiastic about the brand.  But I have to say I think your speculation about the small network impacting on residual values is, well, more than a little bogus.  I also don't accept your Golf GTi analogy.

    Of course the 500 won't be like anything like a RUF, but you're not paying anything like RUF prices.  To me, Abarths have always been 'sporty Fiats', since the beginning.  To my mind, Abarth is to Fiat what AMG is to Mercedes.  Both started as independent tuners, both have been brought in-house, and both continue to make fettled versions of standard production cars.  AMG might have rather more to play with as a starting point, but I believe the analogy is fair.

    I'd just hate for you to take delivery of a new Abarth next year and feel that somehow your enjoyment was diminished as a result of how you feel now.

    While these are just my own personal opinions, and I'm not here to try to change your mind, but I hope you'll take them in the positive manner in which they are offered.

    Be thankful you're not on the list for the new GT-R - delays *and* a £5k price hike!

    EDIT: Oops, I appear to have waffled quite a bit.  Typical journo... sorry...  :-[
    « Last Edit: December 12, 2008, 03:33:03 pm by AlexK »

    Offline simer

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    Re: Abarth 500 Rant
    « Reply #7 on: December 12, 2008, 03:31:48 pm »
    To Vary a car in what the factory call "light variability" means you can change anything apart from the engine, gearbox and air-conditioning.

    Now I am getting hopeful as my spec would fit in with "light variability".......

    Offline simer

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    Re: Abarth 500 Rant
    « Reply #8 on: December 12, 2008, 03:39:31 pm »
    I'd just hate for you to take delivery of a new Abarth next year and feel that somehow your enjoyment was diminished as a result of how you feel now.

    The only things that will diminish my enjoyment will be poor reliability and bad service.

    Excluding an original Panda and Uno (enough said) my experience of Fiat has been excellent. The most reliable cars I have ever owned - far better than a couple of Golf Gti's and a Leon Cupra for example.

    Similarly I have been lucky with two different dealers who have each been very good.

    If this continues with the Abarth I will be well chuffed  :)

    AlexK

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    Re: Abarth 500 Rant
    « Reply #9 on: December 12, 2008, 03:42:44 pm »
    Everyone make a note of this day!  Simer made a positive post!

    I'm just joking with you, ok...  ;D

    Offline simer

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    Re: Abarth 500 Rant
    « Reply #10 on: December 12, 2008, 03:52:53 pm »
     ;D

    olopboy

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    Re: Abarth 500 Rant
    « Reply #11 on: December 12, 2008, 04:00:19 pm »
    I really feel for you simer, I've also, not to put to mild a point on it, lusted after a 500A since I saw the first pics, the only reason I didn't put a deposit down on the website was I really wanted the Mito to do it for me as a current Alfa owner. Waiting for a car is a nightmare and only made worse by the lack of info Abarth UK are putting out, the dealships are fighting a losing battle against the lack of substance from Abarth UK at the moment but at least they are fighting hard.

    I'm going to Rockingham tomorrow to put my deposit down (provided I'm really happy I can fit in a standard 500 fo a while). I spoke with Kevin on the phone and he was being very up beat that he should have some info for people in the very near future (although exactly when who knows).

    And think it's just 18 weeks until the end of April at worst and weeks are easy to tick off :) I would suspect that the original 200 depositees will have their cars first of the personal specced ones anyway. So hang back and chill soon the info will come thick and fast, and just hate euroboy for already having his  ;D (Just kidding mate)
    « Last Edit: December 12, 2008, 04:22:37 pm by olopboy »

    Offline John501

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    Re: Abarth 500 Rant
    « Reply #12 on: December 12, 2008, 04:07:14 pm »
    I even heard a rumour that there may be some sort of brochure for the 500! Is there light at the end of the tunnel?
    Visit Vospers Abarth, Plymouth

    AlexK

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    Re: Abarth 500 Rant
    « Reply #13 on: December 12, 2008, 04:10:47 pm »
    Now you've gone too far, John.  It'll be free Ferrero Rocher next...  ;D
    « Last Edit: December 12, 2008, 04:45:57 pm by AlexK »

    olopboy

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    Re: Abarth 500 Rant
    « Reply #14 on: December 12, 2008, 04:21:41 pm »
    I even heard a rumour that there may be some sort of brochure for the 500! Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

    Stuff and nonsense if they haven't managed one for the GPA why get one for the 500, I call flummery  :D