12 March 2004

Fiat’s chunky Idea 5 Terre was a real surprise at last week’s Geneva show, only beaten by the news that its maker expects to halt its financial downward spiral next year. The jacked-up version of the Idea mini-MPV is likely to be launched early next year, although production is not yet signed off.

In the same year, new Fiat Auto boss Herbert Demel predicted the troubled Italian car maker will finally break even. Between now and the end of 2006, he said, Fiat Auto (including Alfa and Lancia) expects to launch 14 new models. Among them are three additional Panda models (4x4, SUV and Sport) and the Musa, Lancia’s version of the Idea mini-MPV, also unveiled in Geneva.

Fiat claims the Trepiuno 500 remains just one of a number of concepts for the planned microcar that, incredibly, won’t reach showroom until 2008.

But Demel did confirm that Fiat has now signed the long-rumoured platform-sharing deal with GM to use Ypsilon (Vectra) underpinnings for a new medium-sized model due next year.

Sadly, Lancia confirmed that there is no chance of the enchanting Fulvia coupé, shown at the Frankfurt show last year, going into production.

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