The Fiat 500 That Ate the Paris Motor Show

What’s that in the distance, just past the Nissan stand?

It looks like a giant poster of a Fiat 500. Wait, it is a giant Fiat 500.

Once I got up closer to this mega minicar, I half expected the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man to get out and stomp down the Italian aisle of the Paris show.

It’s a detailed up-scaled model, though the larger-than-life Fiat foregoes wheels and instead spits out a pair of Diesel 500s, cuckoo clock-style. Here Diesel refers to the Italian clothier that is co-branding with Fiat for a run of special-edition cars; it doesn’t describe the car’s engine, though 500s are available with an oil-burner.

I expect the only thing more impressive than the size of this set dressing is the process by which it is transported, constructed, and taken down.

And Fiat’s “big” news at the show? New computer software, dubbed ecoDrive, that logs information about your driving habits and records it to a USB key for later review. Once you have the information loaded onto a computer, the software will analyze the data and give you advice on how to decrease fuel use. The system will be available on the Fiat 500 and Grande Punto.