Abarth will be present at the 81st Geneva International Motor Show with a stunning stand where major world débuts mingle with tried and tested models to underscore - yet again - the brand's unique position on the international motoring stage.
The Abarth 695 “Tributo Ferrari” is in the spotlight - on display for the first time with Abu Dhabi Blue and Titanium Grey livery - the fastest and highest performing road-going 500 ever, arising out of joint venture between Abarth and Ferrari, based on shared values that include a passion for performance, a racing soul, attention to detail and Italian style. Over the last two years, both brands have worked even more closely together, which has led to the development of the Abarth 695 Tributo Ferrari, an exclusive car that on the one hand allows Abarth to expand its range, thus entering the luxury sports car segment, and on the other offers Ferrari customers a small, lively car for all mobility requirements, including practical and urban mobility. This numbered and limited special series has been marketed from July and has already notched up more than 1000 orders; more than half of which are from countries such as United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan.
Bolstered by the success of the recent conversion kits (one Abarth 500 in three is converted using the official kit), Abarth is presenting the “esseesse” kits for the Abarth 500C again at Geneva. These are designed to improve their performance, handling and safety without having to renounce the car's low emission and fuel consumption level. Visitors to the stand can admire an Abarth 500C “esseesse” that perfectly illustrates the spirit of Abarth tuning, encapsulating substance and unassuming good looks: in accordance with brand tradition and market requirements, Abarth cars are a mix of sporty yet elegant looks and safe driving experience yet always with sporty performance levels.
The Abarth 500C “esseesse” on the other hand, comes with an elegant Campovolo grey and Pista grey two-tone livery with a white chromatic liner, an element that divides and at the same time combines the two souls of the car: the elegance of a cabriolet above and the out-and-out sporty performance of the “esseesse” kit below. The 500C “esseesse” is exhibited with an original “Record Monza” exhaust silencer (dual mode with variable counterpressure) that enhances the engine sound above 4000 rpm and, as on the Punto Evo, with an Abarth Blue&MeTM MAP satellite navigation system with telemetrics. The prestigious setting of the Geneva International motor show also presents the occasion to make an advance announcement to the general public of the commercial launch, expected during the second quarter of 2011, of the manual five-speed gearbox on the Abarth 500C, combined with the 135 HP 1.4 T-Jet engine. This novelty permits an expansion of the Abarth 500C range, teaming the "competition" robotised gearbox with steering wheel paddle as standard with a manual gearbox which is specifically designed to appeal to those customers looking for a more direct relationship with the car and deem this solution to be the most suitable for their driving style.
There is also space for a Formula Aci-Csai-Abarth model that this year took part in a championship reserved for this single-seater made by Tatuus on a carbon fibre body, an FPT Racing 1.4 Fire Turbo engine developing 180 HP based on the engine used in the Abarth 500 Trophy and Sadev transmission with a sequential six-speed gearbox. This Aci Csai and Abarth single seater trainer is destined to hone the skills of talented young drivers until 2014, serving as their career launch pad towards the higher formulas. It is the heir to the Formula Azzurra car that introduced the Csai "Young Drivers Project" in 2005. In this sector too, Abarth boasts a long tradition, dating back to the 1970s and 1980s, with the Italia and Fiat Abarth formulas that made it possible for drivers of the calibre of Michele Alboreto, Riccardo Patrese and Alessandro Nannini to make their names.
The Geneva Motor Show is also an opportunity to take a look at the two pillars of the Abarth business model: roadgoing cars and the world of racing. To date, approximately 1800 Abarth 500C and nearly 1400 Abarth Punto Evo cars have been sold from the launch in July 2010: these numbers bear witness to the warm welcome extended to these two cars and will certainly contribute to the already excellent results recorded since the brand was relaunched. Suffice it to say that since 2007 the brand has enjoyed continual growth, as evidenced by sales of more than 28,000 for the Abarth Grande Punto and Abarth 500 models in addition to approximately 6000 performance kits designed for the two models. These sales successes have been partly made possible by the extraordinary network of dealers and official tuning shops, an organisation that is unique in its field and is extending to other international markets such as Israel, Rumania, Cyprus, Lebanon, Finland and Australia.
In addition to its sales successes, in 2010 Abarth achieved important results in sports activities as well, in both rallies and on the track in Italy and Europe, as the victory of Luca Rossetti and Matteo Chiarcossi aboard an Abarth Grande Punto S2000 in the 2010 European Rally Championship exemplifies. Rossetti also took the place of honour in the Italian Championship Drivers classification, in which his team-mate Giandomenico Basso, paired with Mitia Dotta, came in fourth. Again speaking of rallies, the first edition of the Abarth 500-Selenia Trophy was raced with the Abarth 500 in the R3T version in the limelight. The absolute winner was the expert Roberto Vescovi, but a large group of Under 25 drivers fought it out behind him, and they took the most prestigious awards. Not counting the large number of foreign drivers who raced in their national championships behind the wheel of the Abarth 500 R3T personally prepared by Abarth for the competitions.
Track activities have also met with great success. The tried and tested single-make Abarth 500 Selenia Italia and Abarth 500 Selenia Europe trophies, both won by Nicola Baldan, and Abarth 500 Selenia GB, won by Ben Winrow, have been joined this year by a championship reserved for single-seater Formula Aci-Csai-Abarth cars with the intention of allowing young drivers to show their mettle at the wheel of a experience-building single-seater car at an accessible price. Divided into 7 events consisting of 2 races each on Italy's leading race tracks, more than 40 drivers competed in this championship. Many arriving from abroad and all very young, they made the competitions highly spectacular and hard-fought. For the record, the victory went to Frenchman Brandon Maisano, 17, member of the Ferrari Driver Academy, Ferrari's breeding ground.
The stand at Geneva
The scene-stealing stand provides an ideal setting for the world debuts and current production cars.
The design idea that inspired the space is simplification: the architecture does not use a language to interpret the brand but acts as a substrate to enhance its values. Abarth and its world take centre stage and the brand exhibits itself to the public in all its pureness and simplicity, in its maximum essence.
The result is a great space with four areas of light under which the car is positioned: this is the stage, which plays out and narrates the world of Abarth.
A sheet of glass standing in the centre of the space supports the recognisable Abarth icon; a large LED display acting as the central element of the scenery forms an ideal backdrop for the cars.
The lines of the entire stand are symmetrical, straight and right-angled. The materials are similarly neutral and intangible: white structural elements and extensive use of transparency helps remove all the visual “noise” to focus attention on the content.
Technical drawings of Abarth engineering are ideally exhibited under a glass floor, visible to all, as used to happen with cars when their rear bonnet lids were partially raised.
Intangible elements such as light, sound and digital content are not accessories in this case but work in a holistic and synchronised manner, acting out different scenes to create an impression that the stand is always in movement. The neutral and minimal physical space is coloured and filled by scenes that recount the Abarth values in sequence: challenge, passion, ingenuity, Italian flair, participation, determination and authenticity.