Fiat Is Done with Gray Cars

The Italian brand leans into its Dolce Vita attitude by ditching the drab

A Fiat completely dipped in orange paint emerges from a gray tank by crane
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Stellantis

Gray is simple. Gray is safe. It’s the reason why automakers feature so many gray vehicles in the lineup. Gray is the middle area between the starkness of black and white cars. Gray is cool…but it’s also boring.

With this attitude in mind, Italian automaker Fiat is ditching gray (or “grey”) for the foreseeable future, living the sweet life in bold bright colors from here on out.

“We broke the rules: we decided to stop the production of FIAT grey cars. This is challenging and disruptive and it is aimed to further reinforcing FIAT’s leadership as the Brand of joy, colours, and optimism,” said Olivier Francois, Fiat CEO and Global Chief Marketing Officer at Stellantis, Fiat’s parent company.

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The move to exclude gray from the automaker’s color palette is an intriguing way to bring attention to a brand that’s been lost in the mix of brands owned by Stellantis — which as a refresher, was originally known as Chrysler, one of America’s “Big Three” automakers alongside Ford and General Motors.

In 2008, the U.S. auto industry was in a state of crisis, with Chrysler filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and later emerging from it in large part due to Fiat purchasing most of its shares. Chrysler became Fiat Chrysler Automobiles or FCA, and Fiat vehicles made a return to the states in 2010 after a 26 year absence. FCA then merged with Peugeot, and the new multinational corporation became Stellantis.

Fiat’s return stateside was heralded by the new Fiat 500, a compact city car based on the iconic Cinquecento that was popular in the late ’50s to the early ’70s. This tiny city car became a cultural icon due to its size, modest power and affordability, not to mention how unrelentingly adorable it is. Like the Volkswagen Beetle and Mini Cooper, the 500 received a retro remake in 2007, with a U.S. version making its way over after the merger.

Since then, Fiats like the 500, the larger 500L hatchback and 500X crossover were available until 2020 when all but the 500X were discontinued in the U.S. It’s easy to understand why Fiat’s been out of mind, since it’s fairly out of sight these days.

Indeed, the company’s announcement about ditching gray doesn’t really seem meant for us on this side of the pond. It highlights the swathe of colors the current range will receive, and all but one are unavailable here. Everywhere else, those shopping for a 500, 500X, Panda and Tipo can get them in shades of Sicilia orange, Passione red, Venezia blue and Rose gold, just to name a few.

We’re expected to get one new Fiat next year, as the 500 returns solely as an EV, the 500e. Hopefully that will be enough to bring a little more color into our lives. After all, we could all use a little reminder to live la dolce vida every once in a while.

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