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World premier for the Fiat Trepiuno concept at the Geneva Motor Show

Mon, 16 Feb 2004 Fiat has announced that its "move into the past for a fresh look to the future" is to be seen at the Geneva Show, where it shall unveil the Trepiuno. The name is very unusual (and one can't help wondering how they will spell and pronounce it outside the borders of Italy), but the car concept is not. The new small car is actually intended to be a modern remake of the Fiat 500 (not Cinquecento) success.

What we shall call the 'new 500', aims at challenging the Smart for size and character but has no changes to the original package. It has the cheerful and youthful style of the original but safety standards, front wheel drive, platform sharing and customer's expectations means its overall length is at least 330 mm more than its ancestor. The baby Fiat born in 1957 was just 2970 mm long, but could accomodate four passengers and had a canvas soft ready to convert it into a four-seater 'landaulet'. The designers at the Fiat Style Centre have challenged themselves with the aim of seeking innovative ideas not just for exterior styling but for interior architecture as well.

The name of the show car, which actually means 'Three-plus-one' states that this is a peculiar four-seater car. Indeed, the interior layout and the thin seats allow so much room in the back that "two further places can be created through a clever arrangement of backrests and cushions". In addition the flexibility designed into the passenger compartment provide comfortable accommodation for tall passengers in the back. Here the facia can be deflated by means of a conversion process to leave room for the front passenger and make more legroom available for the passenger seating behind, despite the very short length of the car.

By Giancarlo Perini