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Fiat brings model Catrinel Menghia to car commercial bikini wars

December 06, 2012|By Jerry Hirsch
  • Fiat is rolling out a sultry new television ad called "Topless" to promite its 500c Abarth.
Fiat is rolling out a sultry new television ad called "Topless"… (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)

When it comes to bikini models, Fiat has trumped Toyota.

It was a surprise earlier this year when the conservative Toyota Motor Corp. used a bikini model in an overseas television commercial selling its Auris, a Corolla variant not sold in the U.S.  The model — nude save for an open jacket and a skimpy bikini bottom — is seen strutting toward the new car.  The model then turns around and viewers discover it’s a he rather than a she.

In pitching its sporty Fiat 500c Abarth, Chrysler Group is sticking with a she. In this case, Romanian supermodel Catrinel Menghia has become the sultry fixture of Fiat advertising. Italian carmaker Fiat owns a controlling interest in Chrysler and its chief executive, Sergio Marchionne, heads both companies.

The commercial, below, which will air in the U.S., is called "Topless," a reference to both the convertible version of the Abarth as well as Menghia. Amidst scenes of the Fiat screaming along the beach, viewers see Menghia lounging chest down on the sand. Eventually the topless Menghia stands and, in a PG-13 silhouette, runs after the car, which goes on sale early next year.

The two spots prove that whether an automaker is selling basic transportation or sporty convertibles, the marketing departments still believe that pitching sexual images sell better than talking about a car’s features and attributes

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