At the presentation of FCA’s new 5 year plan held on the 1st June, FCA outlined detailed plans for Jeep, Maserati, Alfa Romeo and Ram. However, conspicuous by its lack of detail was information on the group’s budget brands namely Fiat, Chrysler and Dodge.
However, our sister company Autocar UK reports that company boss Sergio Marchionne said Fiat "is very well-placed to exploit battery-electric city car opportunities in jurisdictions where access for internal combustion vehicles will be increasingly restricted". The group believes that the premium that the 500 models command will enable it to better absorb the higher sticker prices of electric technology and is thus readying a new electric version to debut in 2020 and a mild hybrid next year.
It has also been confirmed that the Punto will be axed, and also likely, the Tipo. The Punto has had a production run of 13 years and the company believes that the costs for developing a new model will not justify the potential sales, thus not making for a healthy business case.
As a result, the plan is to build on the strengths of its city car segment where the Fiat 500 and Panda hold a third of the segment in many markets and develop new technologies to allow these models to meet the every tightening emission norms. The new electric 500 and the mild hybrid will both be built on a completely redesigned 500 that will also spawn other 500 versions like the just announced 500 Giardiniera and also the new Panda. The 500 Giardiniera is the name from an old wagon body style 500.
How these developments will affect Fiat in India is as yet unclear, with the Jeep Compass and Renegade and the Fiat 500, all being built on variations of the company’s ‘small platform’ the possibility of the 500 series models being built in India is not completely out of bounds, plus with India’s push towards electrification the EV direction for the 500 would be a good fit. However given that production plants for the 500 are already in place overseas, an India-only production of the 500 would seem difficult. Also sales for the Italian brand are currently in the doldrums with only 1860 units sold last year. However, the group has found emerging success with the Jeep nameplate with sales of the Compass averaging around 2,300 units per month.