Fiat has made plans to launch a new line of low-cost cars in western Europe.
Two of the three models are reported to have been developed by Fiat and its Brazilian subsidiary. They had originally been scheduled to replace Fiat’s ageing Palio ‘world car’ and the Uno supermini, which is still made in modified form in Brazil.
Fiat has decided to restyle the cars for western European markets and launch them by 2010 under a new brand. They would be aimed at budget-conscious buyers at the tail end of the global recession.
Fiat could also launch a re-worked version of the Seicento city car in late 2011, sources within the industry have reported.
It will be notably light and is likely to be powered by a new super-frugal, two-cylinder engine.
The car will probably be aimed at the growing market for ultra-compact city cars, but will be much cheaper than either a Smart or Toyota IQ.
The company wants to become one of the main players in the European market for low-cost cars and is keen to launch a second brand name alongside Fiat.
Fiat thinks it can tap the same new market targeted by Renault with the Logan family. Analysts believe that increasingly stringent pollution legislation – some of which will control entry to European city centres – will force drivers who had previously bought secondhand cars into the budget new car market.
There’s no concrete news on prices at this early stage, but the new Seicento could be priced as low as £5500.
The three models are expected to be built in Fiat plants in either Poland, Serbia or Italy.