28 February 2011

It's Offical - Fiat is Back!

Yes, those are U.S. flags and the Fiat logo and yes it is a Fiat Dealership Studio.  This is Bergstrom Fiat in Milwaukee one of three dealerships open in the U.S.  The other two are in Los Angeles and Washington D.C.  In addition to these there will be 180 more dealerships opening this year.  There is a bit of irony here because that is a former Hummer Dealership that closed due to lack of sales and the pending GM bankruptcy.  Now the building will be selling cars that have fuel economy of up to 40 m.p.g. and amongst the lowest polluting cars sold in the U.S.  Fiat stopped importing cars in 1982.  In 1992 VW almost stopped but instead gave it one more try and succeded - VW is now the world's second largest producer of automobiles and is narrowing in on Toyota.  Hopefully the re-entry into the U.S. will help Fiat in world wide sales.  Fiat now owns 20% of Chrysler and will own 35% by the end of 2011.  Fiat, without Chrysler and not selling cars in the U.S., ranks sixth largest and if Chrysler is counted in the next two years it should be fourth behind Ford.

It is wonderful being in Milwaukee and being one of the first open.  Fiat had mentioned that the Midwest was the last region of the U.S. to get the cars (we buy more domestics than the other areas of the country).  But the new Fiat 500 is not entirely an "import".  It is built in North America and technically a Chrysler Group car.  I could explain why but to do so would need much more time with an all new blog post that would be longer than this one.  The engine and transmission are assembled in Michigan and final assembly is in the Chrysler plant in Toluca, Mexico.
Look Daddy!  Its baby Fiat car!!! (She is frozen there and too
excited to get close to it)

Baby Fiat Car! Baby Fiat Car! Baby Fiat Car!
This is baby Fiat car eye...

this is baby Fiat car nose...
and what's this daddy?

Beep! Beep!

Baby Fiat Car goes Vroom! Vroom!
Baby Fiat car is happy daddy.
She was speachless about the rear end - just screamed
for joy.

All cuteness aside, this is a serious car.  While I didn't drive it I can tell you its interior is much higher quality than a 2011 VW Jetta S and the fit and finish is up to BMW quality.  The seat position was excellent and comfortable.  At almost six feet tall I fit in the backseat comfortable but tight with just enough headroom - the same headroom as in a 2011 Dodge Charger (4 door) I just sat in at the car show.

06 February 2011

How Old Is That Tree?

How old is that tree?  It is one of the many Live Oaks that line Jones Street in Savannah Georgia.  I took a few pictures that day because I was studying the homes for authentic historical accuracy, but I didn't pay attention to the tree till today.  The historic plaque on the house to the left says it was built 1861.  The house on the right is similar vintage.  Could the tree be similar in same age?  This street has to be one of the most beautiful residential streets in North America.  The picture was taken December 20th, 2010.  These homes are in the Savannah Landmark Historic District - one of many historic districts in Savannah.  It is also one the oldest designated historic districts in the United States.

Below are a few more pictures from that block (yes that is a real gas lamp in the picture):