Pope Francis Visits U.S. and Travels Via a FIAT 500L

October 7th, 2015 by

Pope Francis may seem to have achieved virtual “rock star” status around the country, however, FIAT Chrysler Automobiles NV seems to be the one who is benefitting from his most recent visit.  The Pope helped to create what can only be described as a one of the best possible public relations boons to hit FIAT Chrysler yet.

This is because FIAT Chrysler was chosen to provide a 500L car for the official Papal Motorcade, along with a specially modified Jeep Wrangler that was designated as the “Official Popemobile”. Both of these great vehicles have been the recipient of a wealth of attention from the media and the public, made even more prominent due to the massive media coverage given this is the Pope’s first visit to the U.S.

Chauffer Driven FIAT 500L

The Pope enjoyed being chauffeured around the country in a black FIAT 500L. This compact car typically retails for under $20,000 and represents the type of ride Pope Francis prefers. Since his investiture, Pope Francis has made a point of vilifying the lavish lifestyles enjoyed by a number of high ranking church officials. His main point being that no one in the church should be living like this when there are so many children in the world who are dying of starvation.

He has gone so far as to admonish the many clerics in the church to consider this fact when choosing their next vehicle. In fact the Pope currently drives a used Ford Focus that he recently purchased and is well-known for requesting modest vehicles during his international travels instead of luxury vehicles.

This penchant for smaller less affluent vehicles has made for some very interesting images of the Pope riding around in a teeny tiny car while being dwarfed by the huge luxury vehicles carrying many other important people and the necessary security personnel. One of the most captivating of these images was that of the FIAT 500L being dwarfed by the fleet of official black SUVs following his arrival at Andrews Air Force Base on Tuesday. The Pope often seemed to be a bit cramped for space as he rode in the back seat of this great little car.

Three for One

During his visit the Pope actually used a total of three different FIAT 500L vehicles, one in New York City, one in Washington D.C., and finally one in Philadelphia. However, each of these vehicles will bear the same license plate, which is the one he uses on his official vehicle in Rome. This plate reads SCV1, which is an acronym for Stato del Citta’ del Vaticano, which is the formal name for Vatican City in Italian.

The decision to choose a FIAT 500L is seen a major blessing to FIAT Chrysler as the company has been working hard to lure the American buying public away from gas guzzling SUVs and convince them of the many benefits found in driving the same compact cars that their European counterparts have been enjoying for decades. In fact the FIAT 500 has achieved a virtual cult status in Italy, where this car was seen as being responsible for putting the Italian people back on four wheels following World War Two.

More recently, the freshly redesigned 500 has become one of the best selling cars in Europe. Here in the U.S. the 500 series have been rapidly gaining in popularity. This is not the first time Pope Francis has used FIAT vehicles, he was seen being driving around in one during his visit to Brazil back in 2013. No matter how you look at it, as millions of Americans spent countless hours glued to the television during the Papal visit, his use of the FIAT 500L has been a shot in the arm for FIAT Chrysler.

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