Fiat up for the fight

Fiat – which has announced it is moving its corporate HQ to London – says it will introduce eight new models to the European market over the next five years, under plans announced at the Fiat Chrysler Automobile Investor Day presentation earlier in May. The new Fiat cars will include a budget range, designed to rival Dacia, and a Mazda MX-5 inspired, two-seater sports car that was originally designed as an Alfa Romeo – also part of the Fiat Chrysler group, along with Ferrari and Maserati. It could go on sale as early as next year.

The two sides to Fiat

The plans for the new European models are part of a wider strategy to give the Fiat brand two increasingly clearly defined sides: the “rational” range of models in the Panda mould and the “emotional” range represented by the Fiat 500, dubbed the “flip-flops” and the “high heels” by Fiat boss Olivier Francois. New models on the ‘rational’ side look set to include the new budget car range, as well as a Punto replacement further down the line. The first of the budget models – a new saloon – is expected to go on sale next year, while hatchback and estate versions of the car should follow in 2016 and a compact SUV is scheduled for release in 2017. On the ‘emotional’ side, meanwhile, a new compact SUV called the Fiat 500X will launch later this year, and will be followed by the little sports car designed to rival the Mazda MX-5 – expected next year.

European success stories

Top-selling Fiat models during the first three months of this year in Europe included the Ducato, which claimed a 20% market share in its segment, and the Fiat 500, which managed a 14.9% share of the small car market.
However, its latest assault on the UK market is a new limited edition, three-door Punto Jet Black 2, featuring 17-inch alloy wheels and sports suspension and priced from £12,000.

First quarter figures

The carmaker’s first quarter figures for 2014 show that group revenues were up 12% at €22.1 billion (£18.1 billion). However, this did not stop the group making a trading loss of 110 euros million in Europe, despite the overall passenger car market jumping by 14% in the UK and by 9% across the Continent.

Future Fiat

According to its five-year plan, the overall target is for Fiat to sell 1.9 million cars globally by 2018, up from the 1.5 million it sold last year.
Europe is not expected to drive this growth, though. In fact, the majority of the extra sales are expected to be in Latin America and Asian markets such as China and India, where a range of new models is also to be launched between now and 2018.

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