MILANO: Once-ailing Italian auto giant Fiat cemented its recovery in style yesterday (Monday) with the crowning of its tiny Cinquecento model as European Car of the Year.

The accolade, awarded by a panel of fifty-eight senior motoring journalists from 22 European countries, bested competition from more than forty other auto models - and by a sweeping margin, reports the Financial Times.

Demand for the Cinquecento (500) is far outpacing supply. Fiat originally projected annual sales of 120,000, but since its launch three months ago the 500 has already notched 100,000 orders. Production is being increased to 150,000 a year.

Meantime, Fiat chief executive Sergio Marchionne announced cooperation talks with Germany's Daimler. The agenda is broad-based, according to Marchionne: "We're not just talking with Daimler about engines, we're talking about everything."

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff