Fiat CEO Olivier Francois has provided initial details on the long-rumoured next-generation Panda expected to be revealed next year.
The minimalist crossover, measuring in at around 4.0 metres long, will supposedly enter the market as an affordable model adopting the “simple clever” ethos reminiscent of the outgoing Panda.
Speaking to Autocar, Mr Francois hinted that a “very special” reveal could take place as a celebration of the brand’s 125th anniversary on July 11, 2024.
“The car that you are going to see next year will be cool, popular, affordable,” said Mr Francois.
Like many of Fiat’s upcoming models, the revamped Panda is set to take design cues from the Centoventi concept car unveiled at the Geneva motor show in 2019.
The swappable batteries featured in the Centoventi concept car won’t feature in the production model to ensure it can be offered at an affordable price point.
“It was something that sounded reachable (when the concept car was launched),” explained Mr Francois.
Rumoured to offer both electric and combustion powertrains, the model could potentially sit on the same CMP platform as the recently announced Fiat 600e, and other models sitting under the umbrella of parent brand Stellantis including the Peugeot 208, and Jeep Avenger.
It is expected the revived Panda will go on sale slightly above the price point of the Fiat 500e (~$52,000 in Australia) but below the 600e.
The next-generation Panda and the 600e are two of the three crossovers Fiat has planned for release by 2027.
“We have room to make another B-segment, more in the ‘essential’ [category]. Clearly our offering could accommodate another product,” said Mr Francois.
It has been 40 years since the Panda was first launched, with the latest rendition debuting back in 2011.
It was axed from the Australian lineup in 2015 but has remained a top-selling model for Fiat in its Italian home market for several years.
Last year, Mr Francois sparked the initial speculation that Fiat would bring back classic nameplates for its onslaught of new products.
“We really have these favourable templates, with a lot of happy customers,” he said.
Mr Francois has acknowledged that the new Panda model would need to cater to “global markets”, increasing the likelihood the model will eventually make it over to Australian shores.
Latin America was the largest market for Fiat last year with 1.2 million units sold in the region.
“We need something that is 100 per cent following the European tastes but really can be global, and this is why I said there may be space for something else, other than the 600, which is very, very European,” said Mr Francois.
Unfortunately, none of the upcoming Fiat EVs have been confirmed for Australia yet.