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Fiat, maker of Italian cars, is opening an apartment building in New Jersey

<i>Jonathan Ernst/Reuters</i><br/>A Fiat car is on display at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit
Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
A Fiat car is on display at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit

By Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNN

(CNN) — Fiat, the Italian car brand best known in the United States for its tiny, retro-styled cars, is putting its name on an apartment building across the river from Manhattan.

While Fiat isn’t the first car company to put its name on a residential tower, it’s a branding exercise more often associated with ultra high-end auto brands such as Aston Martin, Porsche and Bentley. And with places like sunny South Florida.

The Fiat House residences will be in a far more pragmatic location, near the western approaches to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, New Jersey. The bridge, widely acknowledged as the world’s busiest, crosses the Hudson River from New Jersey to upper Manhattan.

Fiat currently only offers only the 500X small SUV in the US but the famous retro-styled subcompact 500 model will return next year in its new electric version, the 500e. Fiat House residents will have access to a car-sharing fleet of Fiat 500e electric cars, according to an announcement from Fiat and UNLMTD Real Estate.

The building will include more than 300 apartment units ranging from studios to 2-bedrooms, some furnished, according to the announcement. The companies haven’t yet announced prices for the units but they plan an opening event early next year.

Besides the bridge into New York City, UNLMTD Real Estate, Fiat’s partner in the project, also touts the area’s access to waking trails in Palisades Interstate Park overlooking the river. The building will be created with Fiat’s “design ethos” in mind, according to the announcement.

Despite its models’ relatively low prices and small size – the Fiat 500X is smaller than a Honda CR-V but has a similar starting price – Stellantis treats Fiat as a “lifestyle brand” with appeals to the vehicles’ styling, reminiscent of post-war Italian designs. “Look good from any angle and stand out from the crowd,” the brand’s web site says of the 500X.

While Fiat’s cars cost far less than those of ultra-luxury brands like Bentley and Aston Martin its sales have been similarly small in number. Last year, Fiat sold only about 2,300 vehicles in the US, a small fraction of the sales of parent company Stellantis’s other mainstream brands such as Dodge and Jeep.


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