Humble pontiff eschews limo for economy car

Listen
Pope Francis waves from a Fiat 500 as his motorcade departs from Andrews Air Force Base. (Andrew Harnik/AP Photo)

Pope Francis waves from a Fiat 500 as his motorcade departs from Andrews Air Force Base. (Andrew Harnik/AP Photo)

The car Pope Francis has been riding in around Washington, D.C., has certain automobile enthusiasts in the Philadelphia region very excited.

Dignitaries such as Pope Francis are normally whisked away from the airport in a giant American SUV.  This pope, who made headlines enlisting the faithful to fight climate change, jumped into a Fiat.  

Bobb Raynor of Coatesville,  co-founder of Fiat Club America, said the Italian car transporting the pope is a European version, not the exact model sold in the United States.

“My guess is that car is not a U.S.-based vehicle, but is either following the pope and his entourage with which he travels, or is a diplomatic car from the Vatican or the Italian Embassy or what have you,” Raynor said. “Which is very common in the Washington, D.C., area.”

The sight of Francis being chauffeured in a Fiat will increase enthusiasm about the brand that only returned to America in 2011, Raynor said.

“Even to have Fiat mentioned in the name of a headline is quite remarkable when you consider the fact that they only recently they returned to the United States after a quarter century of absence,” he said.

The Jeep the pope paraded through Washington in is made by Chrysler, also owned by Fiat. 

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.