Fiat is taking on Simon Cowell by funding a new X Factor-style television show that will aim to give unsigned acts a stepping stone into the music business.
The Italian manufacturer is famous for producing small, trendy cars, like the Fiat 500 and believes a TV talent show will appeal to its target audience. Filming is already underway ready for the first show in March, which will air on a major terrestrial channel.
"There are 500,000 unsigned bands in the UK," said Fiat's marketing boss, Fiona Mackay. "We will help them fulfil their potential and allow them to perform on an advertiser-funded TV program."
In a similar style to Cowell's X Factor, there will be a panel of three judges (although Cowell himself will not be appearing – presumably he is too busy and too expensive.)
The acts will then be mentored and perform with a series of "the UK's biggest stars," said the company. A live concert is also in the pipeline.
Fiat has clearly decided to get all musical in as many ways as possible, as the company will also be backing the MySpace music site. Rumour has it that they will start aping the old Austin method of naming its cars in a musical theme next – a Fiat Allegro or Maestro perhaps?