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Fiat Driving Forward With New Cars

Fiat is going to be a busy brand over the next couple of years. With the merger of FCA and PSA imminent, the Italian car maker is ready to launch several new models in its range.

Only 12 months ago rumours abound that Fiat was to drop several of its models in favour of following a similar plan to Mini and have everything based around its 500, suggesting the end of the Tipo and any hope of other models appearing being a no-no. Now it seem’s the word from FCA is we will indeed see new models including the return of an old favourite.

Punto: Fiat is set to bring back the Punto, the small car to take on the likes of the Fiesta and Corsa. Quite where it would sit in the range is unclear as price wise it could clash with the successful 500, however it could be that Fiat see’s it’s iconic 500 as more of a prestige model (as all model’s gradually go electric) which would allow it to sit the New Punto below the 500 in the Fiat range.

A New Punto could indeed be a successful car as the previous generation, originally labelled the Grande Punto, proved a popular car amongst buyers, indeed in all, the Punto was around for 25 years (1993 to 2018) and sold in more than nine million examples.

Fiat boss Olivier François recently declined to provide details on what technology a new Punto might use, but he did however confirm that a new small car is under development. “We need a B-sector car” he said. “It’s not a mystery. That project has been postponed continuously. Now it is under development. But it would be premature to speak of this model. We will have a B-sector, for sure.”

Tipo – SUV: Yes it would seem Fiat is planning a new SUV, this time to rival the likes of the Nissan Qashqai. The Tipo itself is due for a mid life facelift next year and this could well see a new Tipo based SUV following shortly after. Recent spy shots have shown a Tipo on test disguised in cladding suggested a ‘jacked up’ alternative is on the way.

In an interview with AutoExpress Fiat’s chief Olivier Francois acknowledged “the Tipo is doing well, but it’s not an SUV”. And since that’s where the money is these days, “the next generation of the Tipo must migrate into a more relevant space, which is SUV”, said Francois.

“You can probably expect to see a Tipo product line – besides the Tipo, on top of the Tipo or instead of the Tipo. But family transportation is probably more in the Qashqai body style”, he added. “Who is doing well? The budget-conscious ones such as Skoda, Seat, Kia and Hyundai. So yes, we belong there. Honestly, I wish we had something today. But it’s very important for us to feed that part of the Fiat range without too much delay.”

Panda: A favourite here at Enzari, it comes as no surprise that the new Panda due in 2022 will borrow it’s looks heavily from the Centoventi concept revealed at the Geneva Motor Show last year. The new Panda is expected to retain some key concept elements from the Centoventi such as optional wraps, limited colours, chunky plastic rubber strips, and a few other personalisation options. However much like the original Panda, Fiat boss Olivier François says there will be a ruthless focus on cost at the heart of the new model’s creation.

Speaking exclusively to Auto Express, François, Fiat Brand Global and chief marketing officer, declared his intention to maintain the Panda name and ethos: “There will be a future for Panda as a name plate,” he said. “That’s why I pitched the latest 500 initially as a convertible: high-end, full of options and 30,000 Euros. Because the day I introduce the future Panda, I’ll probably do the opposite. I’ll introduce the most naked version with an incredible price. So yes, I badly want a future for the Panda, because I think this is what makes Fiat so unique. There is no Fiat as a whole if you don’t have a Panda and a 500.”

500XL: The Fiat 500L is a bit like marmite, you either love it or hate it, neither has it exactly been a sales success for Fiat, despite hitting 95,000 back in 2014 as customers have moved more towards crossovers, away from small MPV’s , so the 500L’s sales have gradually dropped.

In comparison the 500X has faired far better, it has been a strong performer for Fiat, with sales between 75,000 and 105,000 units across Europe. With a new 500X due next year and a new 500L already well overdue, it seem’s Fiat has taken the decision to merge the two models.

Fiat boss Olivier François told Auto Express that when the new generation 500x does arrive, it will more than likely be a single ‘500XL’ model, instead of two cars. “The L is a particularly good body, high on wheels, to add batteries,” he said. “Family transportation is a good candidate for electrification, too, because it involves a lot of city driving, a lot of stop and go, school and work runs. But at the same time, it’s not a Utility Vehicle, a UV; it’s an MPV, and this type of car is a little less in fashion now.”

“We need to think of the next generation with the same approach to the consumer that makes a lot of sense in an all-electric version, with a body that is obviously more relevant and in fashion. We’re thinking maybe a blend of the X and L is the way ahead, at the end of the day. But it is not for the near future – and when I say near, I mean not by the end of this year, for sure.”

However before any ‘2 become 1’ model arrives from Fiat, the current 500L and 500X are expected to receive the New Hybrid power units recently launched in the Fiat 500 and Panda. With the New Hybrid units and slight refresh, this should carry both models over until their imminent replacement in two years time.

*images courtesy AutoExpress and Motor1

Fiat 500 and Fiat Panda lead Fiat Hybrid Charge

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