The boss of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) – parent company to Fiat – has announced forthcoming electrified Fiat models, as well as a range structure that will increasingly focus on the Fiat 500 and Panda models.
Speaking at the company’s five-year Capital Market Day presentation in Balocco, Italy, FCA boss Sergio Marchionne confirmed that the iconic 500 and practical Panda – a car that sells in greater numbers in mainland Europe than in the UK – will form the core of its range. Fiat has enjoyed historic success in the small car market, and Marchionne says: “It is difficult for the mass market to be profitable, and in our plan we have identified areas where Fiat works best.”
In the wake of ever tougher emissions legislation, Fiat is set to join the rush to produce electrified models, with an all-electric Fiat 500e expected in 2020 following a total revamp of the 500 range.
The move spells the end of less popular models like the Fiat Punto in favour of new electrified cars that can “recoup the cost of electric development”. This refers to Fiat’s €9bn investment in electrification over the next five years, which Marchionne expects to lead to 60% of European FCA car sales consisting of electrified models by 2022.
Aside from electrification, Fiat will tip its hat to the 500’s roots with a new 500 Giardiniera model, a name which was last associated with the car in 1975. It’ll be an entirely up-to-date estate car, with an all-electric powertrain likely. Hybrid power is certain for the larger 500X and 500L, creating a “fully electrified 500 family”.
The versatile Fiat Panda will retain its functional character, with “practicality and simplicity” its continued selling points. There’s no electric future for the Panda; its place as the no-frills workhorse of the Fiat lineup will be emphasised by a choice of “affordable, eco-friendly combustion engines”.
Meanwhile, it has yet to be confirmed whether the Tipo hatchback and estate will be replaced when production ends – despite Marchionne’s insistence that Fiat’s European production will “remain [the same] or increase” up to 2022.