After years of underinvestment and shrinkage, Fiat is planning to expand its range in Europe.
At present Fiat’s European passenger car range consists of the petrol-powered 500 hatch, the newer electric-only 500 model, the 500X crossover, the Panda tall hatch, and small Tipo sedan and wagon, as well as a selection of vans.
Olivier François, Fiat’s CEO, has told Autocar the first vehicle in Fiat’s renaissance will be a Fiesta-class vehicle to replace the Punto that was axed on the Continent in 2018, although he is adamant it will “not [be] called Punto”.
It is widely expected to use the same CMP architecture as the Peugeot 208 and Opel Corsa. As such it will be offered with petrol and diesel engines, as well as a pure electric drivetrain. A hybrid model is also rumoured.
Following on from this new light car will be three crossovers. One of these will carry the Panda name, while the others are said to be inspired by the original Panda’s spirit.
According to François: “The Panda wasn’t iconic because of its shape but because of the philosophy and spirit, and that’s what we’re trying to capture with a little reminiscent design, too.
“The Panda has to be a little rugged, simple, robust.”
The Fiat boss says the styling these three vehicles have been signed off, some of which include cues from the Centoventi concept. Each, he says, has a “very strong personality and distinctive design”.
While its number of offerings will grow, Fiat’s European lineup will not be looking to creep into larger segments, with all models to be sized between the 3.6m 500 and about 4.5 metres.
François says that, like stablemate Citroen, Fiat is a “people’s car” brand. Although the two brands will overlap in the middle, Fiat will cover the smaller A-segment for Stellantis with the 500 hatch.
Citroen, on the other hand, has “more legitimacy” to sell a vehicle in the Volkswagen Passat-size D-segment.
In the middle of 2021 the brand celebrated World Environment Day by announcing it was aiming to be a fully electric brand by 2030.
Fiat’s CEO has now clarified the brand’s electric ambitions relate to Europe, saying the company is “decisively betting on electric for Europe” with all new models to be offered with a pure EV option.
He also stated he wants Fiat to be the “first mass-market brand to be electric-only”, and believes the marque should “be the people’s Tesla”.
The switchover to electric-only motivation should happen by 2027, but may take place “possibly before”.
The brand also has a broad range of vehicles, including utes, hatches and sedans, built in Brazil and designed for the needs of Latin American buyers. Presumably the electrification timeline for electrification there will be more gradual and significantly longer.